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The Heart of Worship

Did you know our word “worship” comes from an old English word (weorthscipe) which means “worthiness” or “acknowledgment of worth"? That’s right! The word has everything to do with ascribing worth to something. So when God's people across Old and New Testament times have gathered to worship God, it has been for the purpose of declaring how worthy he is of all honor, reverence, and adoration, both for who he is and what he has done. This is what King David had in mind when he wrote, "Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name" (Psalm 29:2).

Thank about that for a moment. When we're gathered on Sunday mornings, we're meant to glorify God. That is why we sing songs that are centered on God and his love for us in Christ, and why we listen to the preaching of his Word with worshipful hearts, and why we delight in the good news of Jesus, and why we give and serve, and why we celebrate communion, and why we fellowship, etc. Everything we do together on Sunday mornings is for the purpose of glorifying God.

But what about when we're not gathered with the rest of our church? Can we still ascribe glory to God? Absolutely, and we should! Paul tells us in Romans 12:1, "I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship."

Ultimately, worship isn't something we do just on Sundays when we're gathered with the rest of God's people. Yes, worshiping God with the rest of our church is very important (It's what we call congregational or corporate worship), but it's also important to worship God with all our lives, through how we live and speak and conduct ourselves, through serving and loving our spouses, children, and neighbors, through continually being mindful of God and giving him thanks, etc.

This week, be encouraged to make all of your life a joyful act of worship to God. And as you do, look forward to Sunday, when you'll get to do the same with the rest of your family in Christ.


Recommended Resources

For further reading on the topic of congregational worship, you might enjoy Corporate Worship: How the Church Gathers as God’s People, by Matt Merker (MDiv, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary). Matt Merker is director of creative resources and training for Getty Music and has contributed to several modern hymns, including "He Will Hold Me Fast."

For further reading on the topic of worship as a lifestyle, you might benefit from Enjoying God: Experience the Power and Love of God in Everyday Life, by Tim Chester (PhD, University of Wales). Tim Chester is a pastor at Grace Church, Boroughbridge, UK, and a senior faculty member of Crosslands Training.

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