October 13, 2009

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations: Passionate Worship

This week was the second week in our church's five week series around the book Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations by Bishop Robert Schnase, with Passionate Worship as the focus. Feel free to share your thoughts or comments.

Passionate Worship
Schnase mentions that worship is not merely an attempt to fit God into our schedules but rather a seeking to meld our lives into God's (34). He goes on to say, "Worship bends hearts toward God as it stretches hands outward toward others" (35). I like the idea of worship as laying our hearts before God while being aware of and sensitive to the needs of others, to the point where it helps shape our worldview. Schnase describes it as seeing things "through God's eyes" (39).

As I spent some time preparing to lead a study on Passionate Worship I came across something I thought to be pretty interesting. One of the words used in the Greek for "worship" is proskuneo which is derived from the meaning "to kiss the hand, like a dog licking his master's hand". Now, minus the dog licking part, I think this could be a powerful image of what worship might look like; allowing our hearts to fall prostrate before God while kissing Him on His outstretched hand. When viewing worship this way it becomes a blessing for us to bless God.

Sometimes I wonder if we have put worship in a box. What I mean by this is the tendency we have to think of worship as something that only happens on Sunday mornings (or maybe an evening depending on how "contemporary" your church is) and no other time throughout the week. We have squeezed the whole idea and concept of worship into a 60min block of time. I think this is to misunderstand what worship truly is. Does worship happen on Sunday mornings, of course (at least it should) but does it only happen on Sunday mornings, NO. Paul describes worship as being "living sacrifices" (Romans 12:1-2) so that in everything we do we have the opportunity to "do it all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). That sounds like a lot more than just 1 hour a week.

So, as you think about your Monday or your Thursday or Friday, are you finding ways to worship God even on those days? The act of worship is not confined to a particular time or day, it is a part of who we are everyday as we follow Jesus. Don't wait until Sunday to do what you should already be doing today.