“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2
How does GOD want us to worship Him? What is worship that is pleasing to God? These are the questions I left church with on Sunday morning. We’ve had a lot of changes in our church over the last few weeks, with no sign of the changes stopping any time soon either. One of the many changes has been the style of music that we worship with. This change has caused a HUGE disruption amongst the members of my Sunday school class. Many of them have started “double church”ing, as they call it. Where they’re attending Sunday school at our church and then going to a different church to worship. We ended our class this week discussing the things that WE thought our worship service should include, the things we wanted… And as I climbed into our car to leave after service the Holy Spirit knocked on the door of my heart and whispered “What about what I want? What about how I want you to worship on Sunday and every other day?”
I came home that afternoon and pulled out my books, filled with questions about how GOD wants us to worship I started by opening up my Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament words and found that “proskuneo” is the most frequent word rendered “to worship”. It is used of an act of homage or reverence to God, Christ, man, idols, the Beast, etc. Proskuneo is from the Greek words “pros” meaning “toward” and “kuneo” meaning “to kiss”. I find this particularly interesting since I find worship so personal. Just the idea that when we worship we are kissing toward the person, thing or god that we are worshiping.
In Romans 12 Paul encourages us to be LIVING sacrifices, to live our lives in a continual state of dying to ourselves and allowing the LORD to live through us. To allow Him to pour His love out on others through our skin, our actions, our words, our deeds. But what does this have to do with a Sunday worship service? As all the changes have been occurring, and I have to be honest, I have not been happy with all of them, I have been talking to God a lot about all of it. Wanna know what He told me? “This is not about you.” The Sunday worship service has NOTHING to do with what I want in the music or the theme or the lighting, the feel, the layout of the room or the altar, NOTHING about me. A “worship” service should be all about bringing GOD glory. What does HE want? What does HE want it to look like, feel like, sound like?
You know what I think? I don’t think He cares about any of those things. What He cares about is those hearts that are being lifted up to Him in worship of Him. Through this change I have learned something about myself. I can worship God to ANY style of music. Even the kind that makes me want to fall asleep. How? Because it’s not about the words I’m singing, or even the music I’m singing them to, but rather about how my heart opens up to the LORD when I’m singing them. THAT is what He is seeking, THAT is what He longs for day in and day out. For my heart (and your heart) to open up to Him. To His word, to His touch, to His Truth.
When my husband and I started writing True Intimacy we did not have open hearts. They were closed to each other and they were closed to the LORD. When your heart is closed, just like a door or a window, nothing can come in and nothing can come out. And the things that are inside become stagnant from lack of use. Things like love and caring for others, when unused become weak and useless. When your heart is closed the things inside become dusty and rusty. Making it harder the next time you want to actually use them. BUT, when your heart is open things can move freely from the inside out and vice-versa. Now, this also means that there is a higher likely hood that someone might come along and hurt your heart, this is true. But it also means that there is an even higher likely hood that someone might come along and hug your heart. Have you ever had your heart hugged? I have. It’s when, even though they aren’t actually touching you physically, it feels as if everything inside you is being hugged. Like your heart is going to explode from all the love that is being poured into it at the moment. God hugs my heart often, usually through my family and my soul sisters. Through the things that they say and do and just being with them, loving God with them. Sharing Him with them, telling them what He’s been doing lately and hearing what He’s been up to in their lives as well.
So I guess, as I work through this, I’m discovering more and more that what, I think, God would like to see in a worship service is community. A place where fellow believers can come together and hug each others hearts. Where they can share God with each other, lift each other up in prayer together and shout praises to Him through words and song. The songs that are sung, shouldn’t matter, just that they are sung with open hearts ready to give and receive God’s love in whatever form He chooses for it to take whether it be reproof or acceptance. Open to hear His word spoken, open to the idea that these hearts aren’t perfect and are in need of a savior who is willing to do anything, including die an excruciating death, to make sure that these hearts get purified and forgiven.
He loves us so tremendously, HOW we worship Him shouldn’t matter to us. Just THAT we worship Him.