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“What is worship?”

The Sunday Sample, Episode 110

I visited an old friend, Harry Hardy, last week. It was great to catch up over a cup of tea. It had been too long! I came away with several blessings. Sweet fellowship, personal encouragement and a boot load of books. Harry was clearing out.

One of those books has the title, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God”, by Andy Ritchie Jr.  On pages 4 and 5 of the first chapter (“What is worship?”) the author has included a prose-poem. I reproduce it here in its entirety.

Why not read through it, pray through it, meditate on it and discover what God may say to you about worship? Is there something here for you to take to your own personal worship and when you lead others in worship? Might there be useful thinking with which your worship team could be inspired?

“What is worship?”

It is the soul searching for its counterpart. It is the thirsty land crying out for rain. It is a candle in the act of being kindled. It is a drop in quest of the ocean. It is a man listening through a tornado for the Still Small Voice. It is a voice in the night calling for help. It is a sheep lost in the wilderness pleading for rescue by the Good Shepherd. It is the same sheep nestling in the arms of the rescuer. It is the prodigal son running to his father. It is a soul standing in awe before the mystery of the universe. It is a poet enthralled by the beauty of the sunrise. It is a workman pausing a moment to listen to a strain of music. It is a hungry heart seeking for love. It is a heart of love consecrating herself to her lover. It is time flowing into eternity. It is my little self engulfed in the universal self. It is a man climbing the altar stairs to God. He who neglects worship neglects that which separates man from the birds, the animals, the insects, the fishes. The un-worshipful man is an anthropoid with a highly developed brain. He may be a paragon of morality, but so are bees and ants. He may be keenly intelligent, but so are wolves and foxes. He may provide for his family, but so do hyenas and orang-utans. He may be successful in affairs, but so are beavers and muskrats. He may be artistic, but so are birds and butterflies. Worship for men is what song is for a thrush, or physical beauty for a tiger, or speed for a racehorse. Worship lifts men to the next level of experience and justifies their experience as men.Worship is man expressing his entire personality. To neglect worship is to accept low-rating as a man. To neglect to worship is to fail in life’s highest function. The neglect of worship is psychical suicide. Intelligent worship is the most remarkable achievement of which a human being is capable. The primary function of a church is to supply incentives for worship and to furnish the atmosphere for worship. If one cannot worship in church, the church may be at fault or the man may be at fault. If the church is at fault, it will eventually perish unless it remedies the condition. If the man is at fault, he will dry up and become a spiritual mummy unless he changes himself.

Question for today: “How do you define worship?”

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John