Much of what passes for worship these days has drifted far from its biblical definition. In the minds of many, worship is the praise-singing portion of a church service and nothing more. It gets compartmentalized into a small part of life and becomes a checklist item… read my bible (check!), said grace at dinner (check!), sang a praise chorus at church (check!). This segmentation extends to the whole of our faith. Rather than faith permeating our life and all things passing through that filter, Christianity becomes simply a part of who we are.
Modern worship has become I shaped. It is still pointed at God but notice how narrow it has become. It is just a portion of our life, perhaps as little as twenty minutes on Sunday morning. We have allowed worship to become associated solely with the praise choruses of the worship. Many of these contribute to our weak worship as they encourage us to express our singular love for the Lord without expressing the magnitude of his being, his creation or his acts. Segmentation also allows for worship to be put aside as the band lays down their instruments. We fail to make it a part of everything in life.
When we decide to get in shape for worshipping God, the first improvements we see are that our worship life begins to look more like an upside-down T. Our worship is focused on our love for God but maturity helps us to see that it is a lifestyle. Being a Christian defines who we are rather than being one of many attributes. We have been reborn and given the Holy Ghost to dwell within and guide all we do. Worship is reflected in right thought and right action as we take all things captive to the will of God. The Apostle Paul spoke of this in Romans 12:1-2 in which he preaches that our (whole) lives should be an act of worship.
We can declare ourselves in shape for worship when we can see the capital I taking root. In addition to expressing worship through all aspects of our life, our worship of God is told through all available channels. We see the musical, prayer, and teaching events of Sunday service as a part of worship in which our hearts and minds are stretched by the glory of all of God’s acts laid out before us. We express awe as the psalmist did and though the seas were not parted for us, we can look to equally momentous changes in our new birth. We are unsatisfied with prom songs for our friend God and we demand depth; we are convinced that All Is Well with our souls despite the crashing waves, that the grace we know truly is amazing. Prayer encompasses the entire body and not just our own wants and desires. The words of the pastor build muscle and strengthen us in areas that we may not have even seen the weakness.
We cannot afford to continue allowing worship to atrophy, even if our intentions in restraining it seem to be good (such as seeker sensitivity.) Whether we face joy or cataclysm, our first attitude should be that of a worshipper. Remember, others are watching.