Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Worship is a Verb

In the “gathering” of believers throughout the entirety of the scriptures, physically involved worship is modeled and encouraged. Many of us who grew up within the church have experienced different “actions” in worship. Christ himself instituted the physical reenactment of his death in communion and resurrection in baptism. Tonight I had the choir share physical forms of worship they have seen in the scriptures or within church practice. Here are some of the actions they came up with:
  • Clapping
  • Dancing
  • Raising Hands
  • Kneeling
  • Standing
  • Singing
  • Testimonies
  • Offering
  • Playing of Instruments
  • Bowing
  • Communion
  • Prayer
  • Baptism
  • Footwashing
John Frame in his book “Worship in Spirit and Truth” says “we may conclude that worship…is something we do, a verb…we can see that worship is far different from entertainment.” (P.1) One of the key elements that separates a “show” from a “worship gathering” is the participation of all believers in community. Enabling and encouraging participation must be our goal.

It is interesting how participation in worship is observed zealously in both charismatic and liturgical traditions yet, outside of singing, mainstream evangelicals have a hard time feeling comfortable with being physically involved in worship.

If you have more physical forms of worship not on the list, leave them as a comment. For now, the “big idea” is that Biblical worship is active worship. I will develop these thoughts further in later devotionals/posts.


Brian B. said...

The Bible scholar Willliam Hendrickson once examined the Old Testament for examples of bodily praise. Can you guess what occurs most frequently? Here is his list of physical actions of worship in the O.T., followed by the number of times they appear (of course, not all of these are in the context of corporate worship):

Bowing heads: 4
Standing with reverence: 6
Lifting eyes to God: 9
Kneeling: 12
Lifting hands to God: 14
Lying prostrate before the Lord: 28

I found this list in a handy book called simply, WORSHIP, by David Jeremiah.

scooterpastor said...

That's really interesting Brian. Odd that no one thought of lying prostrate. I have only seen this in corporate worship once. After dancing around it appeared that the guy dropped dead with his hands out and face in the carpet. Of course, it was in an AG church and he was actually "slain in the Spirit." I'm just glad I didn't have to go find the defib machine. I don't think this is what the OT means by lying prostrate. :)