So what is worship? How would you define it? Or explain it to someone who’s not familiar with the concept as simply as possible? (And understanding too that our whole lives can be worship)
Without going into the Hebrew and Greek words, could it be simply, ‘showing devotion to someone greater’? There are lots of good definitions out there, but that’s mine. For now.
I had a moment in the summer, an a-ha moment, when I suddenly saw things clearer. I was at New Wine in Somerset where I was pastoring a group of children’s leaders for a week, as well as solo parenting my kids whilst camping – boy was I stretched. Single parents you have my utmost respect. I did it for a week and was wasted! I’d had a particularly difficult couple of days and was just hanging on to God to get me through. He did with spades! In the evening I had a 30 minutes gap, and a list of about 10 things that needed doing: showering, shaving, washing up, clearing the tent, and preparing my next talk. All I wanted to do was sleep. But my overwhelming drive was to thank God and that simply saying “thank you” was not enough. I knew I needed to worship him. Give my all. So I wandered down to the big arena, squeezed into the back and poured out my thankyous in worship. It may not sound a big deal but it was to me. I had to DO something that showed my love, my appreciation, my gratitude. I instinctively knew it needed to be costly and deep. I was shattered, and had a long list of jobs but all that had to be put aside to worship the One who deserved my everything.
That was worship. You see worship has to cost us something because in worship we give to the one who deserves our everything. Today in western churches worship is a hot potato that divides opinion: we argue over types of song, music, instrument, volume, how much open prayer, scripted or unscripted; even how long a worship session should be. I’m not saying these things aren’t relevant to discuss. I just think we need to change the conversation: what am I bringing to God today? He is the central character of worship not us. It’s for him, it’s all about him, not us. Mike Pilavachi wrote a book called ‘For the audience of One’ – can we get back to that mind-set? When we make God the centre we will find all other issues fade away.