What is Worship?

by: Aaron Scott

posted on: Jul 13, 2012

What is worship?

 

What is worship? To begin, I think it would be helpful to start with the word itself. What does "worship" mean? The word is derived from the Old English word worthscipe, meaning worthiness or more accurately, worth-ship. Depending on the audience, the word can evoke images of raised hands accompanied by singing and dancing, solemn contemplation, enacting precise rituals, performing animal sacrifices or sitting in quite meditation. For others the whole idea of worship is a concept all together foreign to their understanding and world view. With so many different religions calling what they do worship, it can be difficult to come to an accurate understanding of what worship really is. 

 

Growing up in a Christian household, I always assumed that worship was what we did on Sunday mornings before the pastor would get up to give his message. And that when the music was over and we all sat back down, the worship was over, only to continue again the following week. I'm sure if you were to ask ten different people on the city streets the question, "what is worship?", you would get ten very different answers, all a product of varying pasts and upbringing. The truth is, that all of these answers and the claims of all the different religions would be correct. They are all worshiping something. In fact, we are all worshiping something. Worship is central to our being, an essential part of who we are. It is the most natural and automatic of all human responses, revealing our true desires in life and outwardly confessing to the world what we value above everything else. At the very heart of the word lies this idea of the intended party being a worthy recipient. To put it simply, worship is ascribing worth to something or someone. It is a declaration of the worshiper stating that "this is worthy of my time and affections". 

 

This having been estabished, we can now confidently state that all of life is worship. So then, the question isn't "will we worship?" but rather, "what will we worship?". The answer to this question has great impact and influence on the life of the worshiper. This is especially true in the case of those who have received the life changing gift of Salvation provided to them through Jesus Christ. In the next couple of posts we will take a closer look at what misplaced worship in the life of the believer looks like and then turn our attention to what Biblical worship looks like in the same context.


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