Worship stems from the Anglo-Saxon word, weorthscip, and it is the act of giving honor to someone of worth, usually a deity. Humans were made to worship. We have been hard-wired to bow down before something, whether that is our Creator or a creation of our own. Early church father, St. Augustine, described the need to worship as the attempt to fill the God-shaped hole in our hearts. That hole is only truly filled when we bow down before Jesus and “ascribe to Him the supreme worth that He alone is worthy to receive.”
We don’t have to be in a church sanctuary to worship. It is the centrality of God that sets our faith and activities apart. In prayer, service, fellowship, giving and ministry to others – when we keep Him as the focus – we are worshipping.
But worship has become a buzzword – and because of that, we become desensitized to it. We can view it as a service we attend, rather than an action we perform. When we sit on the sidelines, instead of participate, our faith muscles become soft and flabby, and we forget the true power worship holds for us, as individuals and as the Body of Christ.
The power of corporate worship is immense and because of this, it is important. And we are commanded to do it, as stated in Psalm 95 and 100, because “we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.” We are meant to gather and call on His name because we are called by His Name. When we do that, we receive Him in our midst. We also receive His blessings, which include:
- He will forgive our sin & heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14)
- He will vindicate us (Psalm 24:5)
- He will provide for us beyond measure (Malachi 3:10; Ephesians 3:20)
- He will reveal His Will & protect us (Matthew 2:11-12)
- He will delight in us, give us the power to do what is right and conquer fear (Zephaniah 3:13-17)
- He will encourage us through each other & give us strength to endure trial (1 Cor 14:26)
The blessings for corporate worship abound, as do the formats. But regardless what the structure of the service is, the end goal should be the same. We are there to praise God for Who He is and what He has done. We are to get away from the focus on ourselves. Then we can remember the eternal hope Jesus has given us. We can see we are not alone. We can leave empowered to do the work He has given us and help others through this life. We can leave a legacy.
Stay tuned for Part two of our series on worship, which next week will be about how God wants us to worship – in Spirit and in Truth.