I have been reading a number of resumes over the last few weeks as we prepare to hire a new youth director. Most of them begin with an objective, a statement of what the object of the person’s application and passion will be. In short, they all can be distilled to this: I want to work at Trinity, I like students, and I want to see God change lives. As I read these objectives, it made me begin to think, what would our objectives be for what we do as a church? So over the next few weeks I am going to look key words and what their objective might be, today’s word: worship.
To talk worship needs to begin with this assumption: we have a western mindset, which sees our word as a series of boxes. Every part of our lives goes in a box, a compartment, and the boxes do not touch, like food on those fancy party plates that have 5 compartments. Worship has a box. For some that box is everything that happens on a Sunday inside a church building, for others it refers only to a specific kind of music that occurs during that time. And if we are honest here is what the box looks like for most. Worship is: a regular gathering of people in a specific place. During that gathering we execute a series of prescribed elements (songs, scripture, prayer, sermon, etc). Objective: This gathering needs to have the right balance of humor, emotional connection, inspiration and relevance, such that those gathered would want to come back again. For many of us the object or worship is us, and the impact of Sunday morning on us is the measuring stick, how much we are fed, inspired, or encouraged.
This is very different than the world that the people we read about in the bible knew. Their word was not a series of boxes, in fact everything was mushed together, and everything overlapped into everything else. Worship was not a day or an event, it was a lifestyle. Worship impacted Monday just as much as Sunday (or Saturday). Worship’s focus was not on me, but instead was around God. Worship was offering up to God all that I am and all that I have. God was the sole object of worship. As we read scripture, we see another key part of worship that ties into this: sacrifice. Worship meant sacrifice, offering God all of their time, talent, and resources. Worship had a cost to the participant, and they offered it willingly to the God of the universe. Crazier yet, God fed them deeply through that. The more people offered to God, the more he fed and blessed them in return. In their lifestyle of worship they shared a deep connection with God, which encourage and uplifted them. This was not some formula to earn brownie points or increase their finances, but a blessing given out of love by God to His people.
Objective of Worship: To offer all of our lives sacrificially (Mark 12:30) to give God glory, thanks and praise.