Let's Talk about Worship
My first memories of worship are high ones! I don’t mean bells and smells – but the view from the gallery where my mother loved to sit – high up and able to watch everyone else! As the years went by, I used to mutter about people sitting in the gallery – and the back row – as though they were spectators. And I loved that one-liner when I first heard it: ‘Worship is not meant to be a spectator sport!’
Of course, worship is meaningless unless we are participants. As Robert Webber once put it, ‘Worship is a verb.’ And I know from my early years in school that verbs are ‘doing words’ which denote actions, so I know that worship is something we do, rather than something we watch – or consume. Just as food is better tasted rather than admired in a cookery book, so worship is something to get stuck into, an event that requires participants, a relationship that requires – er – relations.
So far so good. And yet it’s only part of the story, because worship isn’t just something we do. God is a participant as well, indeed, we could say that God is the prime mover in worship. It is true that, outwardly, worship looks like a bunch of things that that we get up to – singing and praying and preaching and welcoming and, and … yet I believe that in all this God’s Spirit is at work, prompting, and disturbing, inspiring and anointing, applying and enabling our worship.
This is where the English word ‘worship’ lets us down. Somehow it seems to stress our worship of God, when actually we are called to an encounter, we are invited to a party. Our best worship is not our most energetic praise song, or even our most intimate prayer, or our most eloquent sermon. Our best worship is when we open ourselves to God in the depths of our need and the thirstiness of our longing for his presence. It was a special day when I realised that the best I could bring to God was my emptiness - that it might be filled with his love. This is worship which leads to transformation, to fruitfulness and to new life to be shared with others.
If you want to think more about worship with Chris, then visit Let's Talk about Worship
where you will find a series of interviews with Chris and some great linked resources for small group study in your church.