I’ve spent a lot of time talking with folks about worship, and I’ve heard it described and defined in just about every way imaginable. But something that seems to be common in my conversations and observations is the idea that worship is something we do “down here,” apart from God. He’s up there and we’re down here. We kind of throw it up to him, and then it comes back in the form of his presence, anointing, power, miracles….whatever. A cosmic boomerang. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Worship is relationship, namely, the perichoretical relationship of the Trinity. And our worship can only be “understood” within the context of this relationship, and our participation in it. It is not something we do apart from God, but rather in Him. Although worship may/will be expressed through our actions, it is not merely things that we do: singing, preaching, praying, Bible-study, service, etc… It is who we are, men and women living their lives in Jesus, participating in the very life of the Triune God. That which the Father, Son and Spirit has (Why has instead of have, hmm…? ) known from all of eternity has been given to us. Before there were angels, planets or people, there was worship. Worship is that which has been expressed in the Trinity always. The Father says of the Son, “Your throne, O God, is forever.” The Son says to the Father, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” The Spirit glorifies the Son as God’s love is poured out in our hearts, and we cry, “Abba!” Only when we begin to see worship as our lives lived (and laid down) in participation of the Triune life of God, in Jesus, can we even start to fathom the glory of that into which we have been called.
Jesus prayed in John 17:
“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their [the apostles] message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Can you see the adoration, the desire, the love- the worship?
No, worship is not a cosmic boomerang that we throw up to God, hoping to receive a piece of heaven as it comes back around. It is us, in Jesus, living and loving God, in the way God has always lived and loved.