Last month, I started a series about what the true meaning of “worship” is. I mentioned the boundaries that we often put on this word and why our worship of God cannot be contained. This month I want to continue this study by looking more deeply into this word and talk about some more untrue restrictions we put on worship.
Most of my life, I considered myself to be a fairly conservative worshipper. I grew up in a church with Baptist roots that was very reserved in their presentation of worship. Until I attended an event called Flower City Work Camp, I had never witnessed someone raising their hands in adoration to our Lord. It was at this event that I began to question all of my prior opinions on what true worship looks like. I witnessed teens raising their hands, falling on their knees and bowing before our Creator. I also participated in creative outlets for worship, such as painting, journaling, nailing our sins to a huge tree, and dancing before our Savior! This opened my eyes to the fact that we should never feel like we need to contain our praise.
I recently came across the Greek meaning of the word worship and I found a twofold definition: “The first is about body language that demonstrates respect and submission; to bow down, to kneel, to prostrate oneself. The second is about doing something for God that demonstrates sacrifice and obedience; to offer, to serve.” (James Torrance, Worship, Community & the Triune God of Grace) I will dive deeper into the second part of this word at a later date, but for now I want to focus on the first part of the definition. The word worship literally means to bow, face down, before Jesus Christ. This was so amazing and eye opening to me! Psalm 95:6 also states, “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” After finding this information, I cannot help but ask the question of why we have become so conservative in our worship?
There are probably many factors that have led us to confine our worship. Maybe we are scared of what other people will think of us if we fall on our faces. Maybe we are afraid to distract other members of our church. Maybe we have listened to false teachings that have led us to believe that it is wrong for us to express our worship in this manner.
I mentioned how my experience at FCWC opened my eyes, but I was still scared about being demonstrative in my praise and adoration. Personally, I had to get over my own fears and worries in order to begin outwardly worshipping my Savior.
I had to take the focus off of myself and put it onto Jesus. Whatever your personal reasons are, I want to tell you that they are not accurate. We should never feel like our worship of the Creator of the universe has to be reserved. We should be shouting His name from the rooftops, falling on our face before Him, and utilizing creative outlets to express our worship of Him.
I want to also note that there is a place for still and quiet praise. Perhaps you are someone who inwardly praises Jesus with your heart and soul; that is also just as beautiful! What matters is that you are responding to the Holy Spirit in whatever way He is leading you, not based on the person sitting next to you. We need to shut all else out and worship our Savior without any thought in our minds but Him and Him alone.