This week, much like every week, billions of people of faith all around the world will gather together; we will assemble (on purpose) to engage in the most curious behaviors.
We will stand and sit and sing and pray. We will listen to readings from ancient manuscripts, and consider teachings from spiritual leaders. We will practice rituals of commitment and rites of passage that have an incredible shaping power in who we are and what we do.
And we call all of this…worship.
But what exactly is worship?
Is it simply what happens here on a Sunday morning?
The sermons and songs? The rights and rituals?
Or is there more?
In scripture, at the heart of some of the most ancient forms of worship we know, there is this image or idea of bowing down. According to some ancient Hebrew traditions, worship involved an encounter in which one recognized something of such value and worth that there was a bending, a yielding, a bowing in total and complete devotion before it.
What is it before which you bow down? Before what do you bend in total and complete devotion? Because if you can recognize that; you are getting down to the heart of worship.
Nothing could be more important than this. Because the truth of the matter is whatever it is we worship, whatever commands our bowing and bending of knee…shapes us.
Psalm 115 declares that we become very much like the thing we worship. Whatever it is that we consider worthy of our time and energy and devotion, we will gradually (over time) become more and more like that thing.
Theologian, NT Wright says “When you gaze in awe, admiration, and wonder at something or someone, you begin to take on something of the character of the object of your worship.”
That’s what makes everything we do here all the more important. Because everything we do in worship; everything we plan; all of its structure and form; all of its method and mechanism is always designed (and is always in service to) that greater thing that is happening within the heart.
That’s why I want to invite you to join us at Johns Creek Baptist for an exciting new series, entitled Heart of Worship. For 6 weeks we will focus the nature and character of authentic Christian worship. We will study what scripture has to say about the transforming power of worship in the life of the believer and in the life of the church. Join us for Heart of Worship.