October Exercises: Worship

Worship is the governing human response to God. When Jesus summed up the entire Law of Moses he said: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ (Luke 10:27). This might also serve as a definition of worship. We might use any and all of our faculties, energies and opportunities to express our love for God: this intentional ‘Godward’ activity is worship.

Worship may be individual or corporate, structured or unstructured. Within Scripture we notice that the book of Psalms serves to give structure to Israel’s corporate worship, centred in the temple. They are a compilation of Israel’s songs, poems, musings and cries. They record the anguish and the ecstasy of Israel‘s journey with God, and their reflection on who he is.

John Calvin referred to the book of Psalms as, “the mirror of the soul— one could look at it and see reflecting back the whole range of human emotions addressed to God; individual and corporate.” 

In the Psalms, God is praised for his inimitable qualities and for what he has done, despite circumstances— whether favourable or extreme. A great number of Psalms particularly praise God for his works of salvation. And so, as Christians, it is right to look back through the life, death, resurrection and enthronement of Jesus at the book of Psalms, and find there excellent resources with which to praise the God who saves.

An old riddle asks: “How does a fish worship God?” The answer: “By being a fish!” The point of the question is to suggest that, instead of needing to do ecclesiastical gymnastics, our worship is the most authentic when we are being most authentically human before our Creator.

If worship is a response to God‘s revelation and salvation, then we worship by living as the humans we were made, and saved, to be. There will, of course, be times when the most appropriate response is to sing – and to sing with gusto, in a safely socially distanced world! That but there will also be times when the most appropriate response will be to show our adoration and thankfulness in other ways. Since all of our lives are to be offered to God in worship, we can begin to offer the day-to-day activities of our lives to God as worship. Speaking to encourage. Humming while mowing. Stopping to notice. Cooking with flourish. The list goes on…

Let the whole of your life be fragranced with an attitude of and energy for worship.