Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Worship is an Action Verb

Dear Friends,

She sits quietly, listening to the relaxing smooth sounds of her favorite worship music. Eyes closed, head nodding in time with the rhythm, a sweet smile on her face. Is she worshiping? The resplendence of the music is bringing warm, pleasant thoughts and feelings of love for her Holy Father and she weeps. Is she worshiping?

She is feeling connected with God. The music has taken her into the holy of holies. She sits reverently in the Presence of God. Is she worshiping?

The pastor stands on the stage partially hidden by the drum-set as he scans the mega-congregation during worship. His praise and worship band just released their third album and every Sunday the church is packed with a young and excited crowd. Only a few of them are singing. All are drawn to the lead singer and the band’s rock sound – the guitar riffs and the drum solos – and they’re enjoying the performance. Are they worshiping?

It might help to look at a couple of definitions here. “Worshipful” is a feeling of reverence and adoration. Listening to worship music may engage your senses and take you into a worshipful place in your spirit. So may reading scripture, burning incense, lighting candles, walking into an old California Mission or seeing a spectacular sunrise.

But to “Worship” is something entirely different. Biblical Worship is never passive. It’s not a performance or a programming element in a church service. In the Bible, “worship” is an action verb. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word “Shachah” translated as “worship” is used over one hundred times. In the New Testament, the Greek word “Proskuneo” translated as “worship” is used fifty-nine times. Both words mean the same thing: to bow down, kneel or prostrate oneself before a Superior Being. To engage in Biblical Worship, you must actually be doing something. Worship is not our good thoughts, warm feelings or groovin’ to a guitar riff. It’s using our voice and our posture to express the worthiness of the Triune God to Him. Singing out loud, verbally praising Him, bowing, kneeling, shouting, standing with hands raised – that’s worship!

“..the Levites who were the singers, all those of Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, stood at the east end of the altar, clothed in white linen, having cymbals, stringed instruments and harps, and with them one hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets -- 13 indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying: "For He is good, For His mercy endures forever," that the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.” 
2 Chronicles 5:12-14

Some traditions teach that worship can only take place in a priest-led church service with other believers. But we were created for worship. “This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise.” Isaiah 43:21 And, so we worship in church, out of church, in our home, our car, in our backyard and walking on the beach.

St. Bernard wrote that “through desire we already possess the object of our longing.” How much this rings true for us when we express our heart’s desire for the Lord in our worship. We long for Him and reach out and touch Him as we speak forth  His worthiness to Him. And in that moment of intimate worship as we possess the gift of His love,  He reaches out and possesses us. We are owned by Him. We belong to Him. We are His.  Amen?
The AMEN Corner is a weekly devotional for the family and friends of New Hope Family Church. It is intended for this devotional to be strengthening, encouraging or comforting and your comments too should be for the glory of God and reflect the intended purpose of these posts.

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