Worship is not ‘a service’ we go to. It’s not even what we do during a service. Worship is our service – Romans 12:1 says when we offer our lives to God, and he’s transforming our minds as we do that, as our lives start to line up with his perfect will– this is ‘our reasonable service.’
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 your true and proper worship.
We want to encourage people to get involved here at Ivy and be a part of what God is up to in our community, but we remember; worship is not a religious ritual or routine, it’s not singing or clapping. It can include some of those things of course but it must never be confined to any particular location or a time of day – that’s the mistake ‘come to church’ church makes, and it’s one reason why I am glad we meet in cinemas, pubs, a warehouse, an arts centre, a community centre and all kinds of other places.
A while ago a new person at Ivy who had previously told me he was a Christian who worked in the music industry came up to me hot under the collar after hearing a U2 song at the start of our gathering, ‘I don’t like you playing secular music in church…’
‘We’re in a cinema. You’re the church.’
He knew a lot more than me about music, but I’m not sure he knew about New Testament worship. Because for us now worship is not in a temple because you’re the temple. It’s not a liturgy it’s lifestyle, a life, a life laid down for Jesus – who laid his life down for us.
Worship is a life laid down. It’s when we give our lives back to God. Worship is not measured by the volume of our songs but the attitude of our hearts. The words we sing don’t matter unless they sink in, as we meditate on what God is saying and who he really is.
Worship happens ‘in view of God’s mercies’ – when I keep his mercies in view. Whatever is happening n my life, he is merciful, he has the grace I need, he is so good and kind. It’s there in the silence too or when the sound is turned right down or my life clangs with dissonance as I tell God, anyway, ‘MY LIFE IS COMPLETELY YOURS.
For me, singing and music can help that, if it opens up a door into a place you actually walk into and stand in. A new place. A ‘heavenlies’ place to stand in.
Worship happens when I become more and more aware of his presence so I gladly let go of the phony idol and that worthless self obsession, as I confront that terrible wrong, recite that mercy loud enough for me as to forgive that which I held against that other, in view of God’s mercies to me… Worship is putting off the old nature and the old sinful stinking thinking and habits – and being renewed in our minds again and again and again.
Whatever it looks like on the outside true worship is falling down before the Lord in complete submission and humility on the inside.
So often I want to reflect what I want to happen on the inside, by the way I worship him on the OUTSIDE!
I focus on Jesus and… JOY! PRAISE! THANKS! VICTORY! LOVE! As I express it, I inhabit it. If you want to change on the inside, why not at least try to change your posture on the outside – so your body and face and smile and knees and hands or whatever are doing what your mouth is singing? How can anyone sing these great truths and not engage their emotions? Worship is way more than wholeheartedly joining in with the music at church, but if you won’t do that, what else won’t you do?
I know worship is way bigger than what we do in church, but it’s great practice.
What we do in our lives, is our worship on earth – the overture for eternity.