What is worship?

What is worship?

I’ve been reading Exiles (Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture) by Michael Frost and I liked his take on Paul’s definition of worship. Paul writes:

“Therefore, 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 true worship” (Romans 12:1)

Frost says:

“In the church we are so blinded by the contemporary use of the term “worship” that we take it to literally mean nothing more than the corporate singing of praise to God. When someone says that our reasons for being is to worship, we can be fooled into thinking that our highest calling is corporate sining. I;m not against corporate singing, of course, but according to Paul, my spiritual act of worship involves sacrificing my body, my volition, my actions. He then goes on to counsel the Romans about what this would look like in practice. He lists the following ats of true Christian worship:

  • To not conform to the norms of society (v2)
  • To humbly express sipritual gifts in practical ways (v3-8)
  • To love others (v9-10)
  • To be spiritually zealous, hopeful, patient, and prayerful (v11-12)
  • To be hospitable and generous (v13)
  • To live in harmony, with munificence and charity toward unbelievers (v14-21)

So this is worship! We have to stop isolating mission from worship, and acknowledge that when I act charitably toward someone, I give glory to God. When I share with someone about my friendship with Jesus, I am worshipping God. Mission, then, is an expression of Christian worship. In fact, I’m prepared to say that it is the central and most powerful expression of worship. In Romans, Paul’s argument about worship continues throughout chapters 13-15. He persists in emphasizing the rule of love as an expression of worship. We are to love those in authority by submitting to them lawfully (Rom 13:1-7). We are to be gracious to new beleivers (Rom 14:1-12) and work to maintain unity in the church (Rom 14:13-23).”