September 18, 2012

What is a good definition of worship?

All worship involves these two things in a dynamic relationship, revelation and response. To say that more fully, worship is initiated by God, who graciously reveals Himself to us and we respond in faithful ways. So, worship is the revelation of a gracious God, the initiator of the worship experience, and the faithful response of grateful and obedient worshipers. Worship always involves revelation and response.

If we go back to the definition that we offered a moment ago for worship, saying worship is bowing all that we are before all that God is, that definition itself has built into it this idea of revelation-response. So, bowing down is our response. Bowing down what, part of us? No, bowing down all that we are. That is our faithful response to all that God is as He has revealed Himself to us — His person, His deeds, His will for our lives. All that God has revealed to us we must faithfully respond to. So, perhaps another way to define worship would be to say, worship is our faithful response to God's gracious revelation.

These are definitions of worship that are, of course, a little bit idealized. This is what worship ought to be, not necessarily a description of where we are in our present experiences of worship but where we ought to be, faithfully responding to God's gracious revelation, bowing all that we are before all that God is.