Monday, February 14, 2011

Worship as Relationship

Christian worship takes many forms.  Describing worship is sometimes like describing the known universe.  So for this post, the scope is narrowed to the relational aspect of Christian worship.

Worship could be defined in part as the most important relationship in one's life.  Whatever I invest my time, energy, love and devotion to-is the recipient of my worship.  I elevate that relationship to a place of honor.  That relationship receives most of my time, attention and affection.

So an interesting thing can happen.  People transfer their understanding (or lack thereof) of relationships to their worship of God.  But if we do that.  Our worship universe is small and incomplete.  It revolves around us.  In essence if we believe the world to be flat, it is flat.  If we believe God to respond towards us like our abusive earthly father, or our comatose spouse, our worship remains dysfunctional at best.

With earthly understanding of relationship as our worship paradigm, worship remains in the realm of our control mechanisms.  We bring strings attached.  We expect God to respond only to our offering because after all, He loves us best as experienced in the privacy of our prayer closet.  His only action towards us is to fill a void or wound.  This would be the perpetually wounded worshipper.  While He will heal us and bring us out of hurt, God doesn't desire for us to remain in that place.

The challenge lies in the fact that many of us aren't really honest with ourselves, and with what God is requiring of us in a sacrificial relationship.  He desires to lead us, speak to us, and take us from where we feel safe and predictable, into the unknown and uncomfortable. 

If we allow God the right to do those things in our personal worship time, then we are primed for a greater participation in corporate Christian worship.  I would guess many worshippers never enter into corporate worship, but merely do "private worship" in a public place among other private worshippers.

As a result, worship wars ensue.  People often battle for the right to articulate what God said to them, or what song we should sing at a certain moment.  People argue over worship expressions, to dance or not to dance, to wait or to move on.  People fight over musical style, instrumentation and a myriad other things that have nothing to do with what the singular voice of the Holy Spirit desires to say in the context of a specific corporate body on a specific day.

When individual worshippers give way to the corporate anointing.  Something entirely different will occur. Something awesome, something transcendent.  Lord take us into your heavenly place together as one!