Working Definition of Worship (Issue 1.2)

Originally Written for 8/31/08

Last week I introduced our mission statement and wrote regarding our job as a choir to model worship for people.  In order to do this we need to have a richer understanding of the following:

  1. What Worship Is;
  2. How We Worship;
  3. What Authentic Worship Looks Like

Today, let’s focus on the first of these three issues.

Biblical worship is rooted in our response to God’s holiness, majesty, power, grace, mercy, justice, greatness, and even His judgement (just to name a few important attributes).  Worship can be summed up in one word from that statement: Response.  Worship is, at it’s core, always God-initiated.

How is it God-initiated?  From a theological standpoint, as New Testament Christians we might say it’s a response to Christ’s death and resurrection.  This is the simplest way, so let’s examine it.  Everything we do in our lives is a reflection of the reality of Christ’s saving grace as evidenced by the cross, the empty tomb, and His work in our lives.  But responding to this can sometimes be difficult to accomplish, and is one reason men in particular have such a difficult time with worship.

Traditionally in our society – and one could make a very strong case that it’s because this is how God made us – men are initiators and women are responders.  This is modeled in many aspects of our lives, but perhaps the most basic is in romantic relationships, which also happens to be a picture of our relationship with God.  In our relationship with God through Christ we (both men and women) are the responders and God is the initiator – we are called the bride and Christ the bridegroom.

Once we understand that worship is based on God’s initiation and not ours, though, we free ourselves.  What are we free from and free to do?  We’ll talk about that in a future devotional, but this week I want you to reflect on the idea of responding to God’s initiating so that you can enter worship.

How will this affect how you sing in choir?  As leaders we sometimes feel we need to “put on a show” or “make it look like….” (finish the sentence however you like).  In order to model for the congregation what worship is we need to model responding to God’s work in our lives.  Over the next several weeks the hymns we sing will (hopefully) help us do that.

Just remember: worship is about Him and not us.  Once you understand that, begin to respond to the Spirit’s leading and focus on what God has done for you – don’t worry what others think.  As you respond to that leading you’ll begin to worship.  And, by the grace of God, others will see and follow.


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