1 : to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power
2 : to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion
intransitive senses : to perform or take part in worship or an act of worship.
That is what Merriam Webster says, but allow me to give you my personal definition of worship. Worship is “extolling the characteristics and the acts of God in thought, word, and deed.” It is magnifying WHO God is and WHAT God does, by what we think, say, and do. In other words, worship as singing is only part of the equation. We give worship to God by being men and women of integrity in our places of work. We give worship to God by serving those around us – providing food for the hungry, clothing for the naked, shelter for wanderer, etc. God is praised even in the small things, as when a cup of cold water is given in his name. He is praised when we acknowledge Him as the reason for our serving.
Yet even in our singing, worship is not so much about the music we choose, but the heart of gratitude that we offer to God. If God is unchanging – the same yesterday, today, and forever – then He is not affected by changing musical styles. He was not worshipped more with hymns than he was with Gregorian chants. He was not worshipped more with folk music than he was with hymns. He was not worshipped more with rock than He was with folk music. It is because music does not do the worshipping. The medium of music is merely a doorknob to the door of worship, and that door leads us into the very presence of God. God is worshipped, not by our music, but by our hearts’ grateful response to the redemption Christ provided. In other words, music is a catalyst, but true worship requires we engage our hearts in extolling God.
I have a little bit of homework for you this week. Take a few minutes each day and read a psalm; it doesn’t matter which one. Try and see where the psalmist is engaged in the different parts of worship from my definition above. Can you find a psalm that encompasses the whole definition by itself? Or do they all represent only a part or worship? As you read and examine the psalm, join with the psalmist in worshipping God through that psalm.
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever!