Shedding Light On Worship
One of my former pastors (at a former church) held a doctorate in worship. I attended that church and knew him prior to understanding that so fine a discipline would carry enough context as to have an entire doctorate program devoted to such a specific thing as worship. Just how important is worship? I’d wager to say that, since it’s God whom we’re living towards, everything we do is to be an act of worship. Or, reworded a tad, everything is indeed an act of worship but it’s only when directed to Him is it valid. Make sense? Great.
“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:21-24)
In front of the watershed
When’s the last time you had a watershed moment? When I was a kid, “I thought as a child” (1 Corinthians 13:11). And so I thought that worship was something done with your hands raised and only then. How awkward. Because I certainly didn’t want to spend any time at all in public, let alone in the sanctuary, with my hands raised. Nothing against my (then) congregation but I am somewhat sensitive and to feel others’ eyes upon me (there or not) was not my idea of a fun time. I believe that God is looking at us all the time. So unintrusive and winsome and gentle that you wouldn’t even know it. Think about the Greek word and connotation thereof for worship, however. The word is proskueno and its transliteration is akin to a dog crouching at his master’s feet. Jesus says the “Father seeketh such to worship Him.” And if there’s something in us unhumble, it will prevent us from seeing that God is due worship all the time.
“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
I have a dear friend my dad’s age named Tom who I see on occasion. I would consider him to be a surrogate uncle. Avuncular, as it were. He was integral in helping shed some new light on the concept of worship itself when he, in conversation, cognated the word with “workshop”. I forget the context of the conversation but that did get me thinking. So much so that I remember it to this day. See, it really doesn’t matter what we do. And as half our life (or thereabouts) is comprised of work–vocational and otherwise–we must see everything we do, as an act of worship. This was my watershed regarding worship. Don’t worry, I still lift my hands periodically. I don’t so much care whether or not someone’s looking like I used to. But I can tell you that I now know God is looking. And that He loves me.
Behind the woodshed
No, not like that. The phrase refers to getting the stuffing kicked out of whomever is back there. Woodshedding, however, means to practice and practice and practice your instrument for an upcoming concert or show. As an aside, keep doing it. Forgive me for sounding condescending but you gotta do it. Music might be part of “the other half” and it may never be what you do for a living–don’t stop. That’s a free gift from God of inestimable value. Much like writing and art, music is something resident within that will only come out and bless others if you keep at it, if you woodshed. But what for? For worship of course! Play it up to your heart’s content whatever it is you do. Because it’s who you are. And worshipping the Lord in whatever you do and whatever way you choose allows the Holy Spirit to suffuse you and your actions to where they’re alloyed into a thing of love-based worship. To where your whole life is aglow with worship toward the Father.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all as unto the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” (Colossians 3:16-17)
Really, I don’t believe we’re supposed to go around thinking about it all the time. As God is ever-present, He knows we must remain focused on that with which we’ve been tasked in service-to-others-as-unto-Him. This is the worshipful life.