March 4, 2020
A.W. Tozer asked this question as a part of a sermon series that was turned into a book after his death.
This question has stuck with me for some time as I have tried to understand worship in the context of the New Testament church: Is it ever-changing or has it fallen away?
This has led me to ask the following questions: What exactly is worship? How is worship done? Why do people worship? Does worship play any role in our spiritual formation?
Sometimes I wonder, “Why wouldn’t God just give us clear-cut instructions?”
Surely if we were given step-by-step instructions on worship, we couldn’t mess that up…and there wouldn’t be the need for any debate regarding these practices.
Then I remember the examples of the Israelites and how, even with rigid rules, they seemed to miss the heart of what God was communicating.
So perhaps worship is not something that fits a perfect mold or style, but something more.
What is worship?
Louie Giglio says it this way: “Worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to God for who He is and what He has done, expressed by the things we say and the way we live.”
Worship is a response.
I remember driving one night in the middle-of-nowhere Texas, where there was no ambient light from nearby cities to muddy the night sky, and the brilliance of every single star pierced the darkness in the way that causes you to hold your breath. I had never witnessed anything like that.
Immediately, my mind was taken to the greatness of God and how He created something so magnificent. Theologians call this “natural revelation.” Things that are created attest to the existence, greatness and glory of God.
Psalm 19:1 (ESV) says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
How I responded in that moment wasn’t as important as the fact that I did respond.
How is worship done?
If the “what” of worship is our response to God, then the “how” of worship is our expression. Again, instructions on how these expressions should be practiced would be welcomed, but in their absence, we must interpret what is given in Scripture.
Read more at Whatever Happened to Worship in the Modern Church?