As human beings, we often want our words to have a single meaning. If our spouse serves hamburgers for supper, we may expect a burger with lettuce, tomato and ketchup on a hamburger bun – so the following would all be surprises:
Hamburger patty on a plate with raw onions
Turkey burger with mustard and pickles
Steak burger with steak sauce and fried onions
Rare hamburger steak on a plate (as in parts of Europe).
Ground beef in pita bread.
Yet each would be a burger, even though we aren’t used to thinking of them as such.
Worship is very much the same, but much more complicated.
Looking at the Hebrew, Greek and English concepts, worship can mean:
Service in a religious building
Devotion, love, honor for God
A posture of submission, acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty (bending the knee or bowing down in reverential fear)
Sacrifice (in New Testament, often self-sacrifice in service to others)
Raising hands to God
Singing, including accompanied by instrumentation
Celebration, make a show
To address in a loud tone
To dance or jump for joy (this is not a comprehensive list).
Unfortunately, we often boil worship down to music, and each of us has a favorite style based on our experience (I’ve identified at least five favorite styles in our congregation alone, and there certainly could be more).
Let me encourage you to think biblically about worship, which includes thinking broadly – much more broadly than a particular approach or style. Let’s worship Him together!