Worship: Deep Calls to Deep
Worship Is Celebration.
We have worship services, worship leaders, worship bands, and worship CDs. In the midst of it all, have we forgotten what worship is? We have certainly forgotten its reach, its scope. We hear the word and we think singing. We hear the word and we think church. In other words, we think about forms rather than about spirit being united to Spirit. Worship is a heart attitude, not an activity. Worship is both the adoration and the enjoyment of Jesus as Lord. It is the chief end of man—the glorifying and enjoyment of God.
Worship can be either corporate or individual. It can be formal or informal. Mostly we think of it in its formal and corporate expression; and formal, corporate worship is essential and wonderful. But worship, more simply, is my spirit losing and finding itself in the One who is Spirit and Truth. It is Deep calling to deep calling to Deep.
Clement of Alexander, an early church father, said, “Worship is celebration. All of life is a festival: being persuaded that God is everywhere present on all sides, we praise him as we till the ground, we sing hymns as we sow the seed, we feel his inspiration in all we do.” Worship, then, is not just something we express. It is also how we live. I worship when I write. We worship when we cook, when we bathe, when we mow the lawn, when we change one diaper after another after another. Our lives are lived in worship. Paul says, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him” (Romans 12:1). Living a life of holy sacrifice is our acceptable service—our acceptable worship.
How Do We Worship?
We worship in many ways and with many forms. But worship is not about the forms we choose so much as it is about our hearts. Receive the Eucharist, clap your hands, raise them, dance, fall prostrate, sing, speak, play music, be silent, write, run, work, play, breathe—worship. Know that God is present with you in all you do and wherever you go. Thank him. Serve him. Enjoy him as you eat and drink. Breathe him in. Breathe him out, that you might breathe him in again.
Why Do We Worship?
We worship because we are creatures. It is the obligation, the debt, of the creature to worship the Creator. It is that eternity that is set in our hearts, that God-shaped blank—we must worship our Creator in order to be whole. And when we worship we experience his peace and his presence. We become one with him as we submit ourselves to worshiping him in spirit and in truth.
We also create unity among God’s people as we worship. We cannot worship God and simultaneously be angry with a brother or a sister. So while you are at the altar, while you are sitting in your cubicle, while you are preparing a meal and you think of one whom you have offended or who has offended you; go to him, seek her out, and reconcile with one another in order that you both might be reconciled to God.
Worship is how we live our lives. We adore God, we serve him, and we serve one another. We breathe in. We breathe out. We worship.
Scott Lyons is a stay-at-home dad and a freelance writer living in North Carolina.