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What is Worship? Through the Lens of Relationship

Having looked at both the Old Testament and New Testament priorities in man’s worship of God, we’re now ready to start asking the modern question: How are these same priorities reflected in our worship?

  1. Relationship with (obedience to) God
  2. Relationship with one another
  3. Rest
  4. Giving and serving
  5. Remembering and praising

As we have previously noted, there seems to be a heavy emphasis on Sunday morning music and presentation in our current definition of worship. Powerful musical displays approach concert levels in some venues while others wrestle with congregational preferences as they maintain the expressions of previous generations while peppering their efforts with more current approaches.

The so-called “worship wars” may reveal our limited perspective of worship. After all, if our greatest question in worship concerns what we sing, we may not really understand the nature of worship at all.

When looking at the biblical foci of worship, it seems that musical and verbal expressions have a more narrow seat at the table. Yes, there has been and always should be celebrations of praise and proclamations of God’s greatness, but the biblical approach seems more concerned with relationships than with words. We love God by obedience and by loving one another, by demonstrating dependence on Him and giving of what we have to serve the needs of others. That hardly sounds like the consumer worship we tend to cater to.

Real worship would be about Him and not about us, our comfort levels and preferences. In the biblical model worship isn’t performed for us, but instead demands something of us. Frankly, an approach to worship that thrills and appeals to our lust for good feelings sounds more like what Israel was doing around that golden calf than anything they were ever to do near the Tabernacle.

We must always remember that since it is God we are worshipping, His preferences and directives dictate our actions, not ours.

Next, we'll look more closely at the five priorities of worship, in search of ways we can bring this same focus to our worship.

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