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Topic: Worship (05/03/04)
TITLE: WORSHIP IS...
By Anthony David
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Anthony David Swaroop Kumar
He looked ordinary. An old man wearing a pair of torn trousers. Looked like a simple, hardworking soul. He was in a trance. Sitting cross-legged on a carpet among a handful of people in a makeshift hall, he seemed to be lost. Loudly he was bellowing the words of a worship song. As the rhythm of the song increased in tempo, he began to sway and clap loudly. He clapped so hard that his hands began to hurt. That was his worship - showing reverence to the Lord.
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A sedate young lady knelt down in a huge cathedral. She covered her head with the pallu of her sari modestly. As she uttered the responses in the prayer book, her heart was lifted up in reverence to the Lord. His presence was real to her. That service stirred up something deep within her.
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Two acts of worship. The old man if he saw the young lady might feel that it was not worship at all. The young lady might have felt out of place in the makeshift hall of the old man. What then is worship?
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The Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary defines worship as, ‘ reverence, respect or love towards God”. Worship, for us Christians, is an uplifting of our hearts towards God. Realizing Who God is, and His worth. In one word then, worship is really “Worthship”
Bending our knees in humble adoration at the awe, the Numen that God inspires. That is worship. As we contemplate an omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent God, we are struck with a sense of unworthiness. What is man? After all a minor being housed in a speck of a planet, a minor one at that, part of a small solar family. In stark contrast stands the awe-inspiring vastness of the universe. How can man dare to stand before this Creator God?
The word of God exhorts us to worship Him. “ Give to the Lord the glory due His Name. Bring an offering, and come before Him. Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness” (I Chronicles 16:29). Realizing the holy presence of God and voicing out our awe of Him, in reverence, is worship.
We have a wide spectrum of methods we use to worship God. Some groups sing songs with loud clapping and swaying of bodies. Others sit or kneel solemnly and repeat litanies. Some lift up their hands and speak out while others dance. To each his own. All these seemingly contradictory forms have something in common. The worshipper senses the awe of the presence of God. He is expressing his own unworthiness and God’s worthiness.
How would God view all this? What is God’s point of view of our worship? The Bible says that unlike man, God looks into the heart of man. He looks at the inward nature of man. Do we really mean business in our heart of hearts when we worship the Lord? Or are we just appearing to worship for the sake of others around us? What is our real motive? Why, exactly are we worshipping? Is it because of the ‘herd’? Is it for appearances sake? Is it in deference to parental pressures? Is it to please or friends of the other sex? We need to introspect.
With His incisive eye, the Lord can melt external appearances and look straight into our hearts. What is He going to find there?
Whether you worship kneeling or standing, shouting or silently, using a prayer book or praying spontaneously, remember that all these are mere icing on the cake. What matters is your heart. Remember, the gaze of the Worshipped One is resting only on your heart!
Let us now resolve to concentrate on the essence of worship. We need to focus our attention on our hearts and spirits. Only if we worship Him in spirit and in truth can we say that we are truly worshipping Him. May the good Lord look into us and find a truly worshipful attitude in our hearts always. In fact, the reason we exist is to worship the Lord!
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© 2004: Dr.M A David S Kumar.