What is Worship?

Written by ryan on
Oklahoma vs. Ohio State

What a complex and beautiful question.  One that has taken millennia to unfold, and will take millenia more to continue the discovery.  It's so simple, and yet ever-changing.  One thing's for sure, whatever "worship" is, God asks us to do it of Him (John 4, Exodus 20, Psalm 95, Psalm 150, Romans 12, Hebrews 12-13, Colossians 3, Ephesians 5, Matthew 4, and so on and so on).

At its core, worship is ascribing worth to something - anything.  It's saying, "Yeah, see that thing over there? It's worth it to me."  The Old English root of the word (weorthship, i.e. "worth-ship" or "worth-it-ness") suggests this precisely.  Showing up to church on Sunday morning tells God He's worth your morning.  Praying with your families tells God He's worth the sacred space you share with them.  Singing songs to God tells Him He's even worth more than your pile of insecurities.  Worshipping God is simply telling Him that He's worth more to you than anything and everything else.

Is this just a church thing?  Nope.  Especially not.  As a worship leader, I try week-in and week-out to inspire and encourage people to tell God He's worth it.  But, worship seems to be ever-so-easy when 80,000 fans scream at their soccer teams from within the stadium, or when 20,000,000 Americans are glued to their televisions for football each week.  Seriously, where else will you hear so many men (and women) shouting the same things toward the same thing at the same time?  We don't have to teach our toddlers to proclaim "mine!" and we don't have to convince business people of the "me first" mentality.  We do, however, have an uphill battle when leading ourselves and others into an attitude of worshipping God.

Why?  Because we're imperfect - and that's the beauty of it.  Worship is, in a sense, unnatural, and therefor voluntary, and therefore beautiful.  Ascribing worth to anything other than self, namely God, is precisely the point.

There's great literature yet to be written on this.  Songs that have yet to be sung.  Blogs that have yet to be published.  But this will never even touch the tip of the iceberg.

Worship is a minute-by-minute decision to abandon self and ascribe an even greater value to our God.

Stay tuned as we dive into this together.

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