Thursday, August 9, 2007

Spiritual Disciplines Beat #4: Worship

    Worship is our final stop on this journey of exploring the beats that make up the rhythm of the spirit. So far we have seen how the other beats, when done with an attitude of discipline, can be accomplished pretty much any time, anywhere. Worship, at least the conventional notion of it, is a little bit different, because the way many people think of worship is accomplished at a regular time and place. This is convenient to us because it means we always know where it is and where we need to be, and one of our major spiritual disciplines is done.

    When you think of worship, what is it you think of? Is it the conventional notion of being in a church with a band playing or choir singing? Do you picture a preacher at the front extolling a message while parishioners sit listening, enthralled? Perhaps you picture something more off the wall with snake handling and people speaking in tongues. These are all various expressions of worship, some obviously more common than others.

    The interesting thing about worship is that it, too, can be performed anywhere. It can be done with a song in the car on the way to work, an act of praise after a success in your professional life, or even just a silent prayer of thanks and praise. Worship cannot be confined to a certain time and a certain place anymore than God Himself can be clearly defined. If God is everywhere, and we know that He is, then our worship can be anywhere.

    In the Old Testament places of worship were often clearly defined and separated away from every day life. In the time of Moses, during the wandering in the desert, there was a clear separation of what was considered a place to worship and what was not. The book of Leviticus goes into great detail about the sacrifices needed for a specific act of worship and many other aspects of worship.

    As we know, Christ came and now we don't have to worry about finding a pair of doves or something like that every time we want to worship. I find that one of the greatest things in the Bible, how Christ came and completely changed the rules, yet made everything in the Old Testament still serve some purpose.

"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." -- Romans 12:1


    How does this tie in to our other principles of the rhythm of the spirit? To me, present a body as a living and holy sacrifice means taking care of out other three beats of Prayer, silence, and the Word. This verse tells me that those three beats themselves AND together can be a spiritual act of worship. Aren't we communing with the Creator when we pray? Aren't we worshiping when we come before him in the Word, seeking guidance? Isn't the Word itself, along with prayer and even silence part of the traditional Sunday morning service?

    That is not to say that you can take care of all your worship needs on your own, away from a community of believers. Otherwise, why would we have the fourth commandment?

"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." – Exodus 20:8-11

    Sunday is set aside for purposes other than football. The physical act of worship connects us to a community of believers that we can rely on for support. As human beings we are naturally social creatures, and it is nearly impossible for us to do anything completely alone. Even if you go off in the wilderness and try to live away from any human being it is very difficult to last for very long. That is what avoiding worship in a church service is like spiritually. It is hardwired in our souls that we need to spend time with our Creator, and when we have a support system in Worship it is even better. Worship is both a celebration and a physical act that we must take part in.

    As Daron has said the four beats of the spirit come together to drive the entire song. As we have seen along this brief journey no one beat can stand on its own. Like a song, each one is repeated around in order to form the whole song that our spirits dance in harmony to. It is my prayer this day that you are walking and dancing in time with all four beats, and that you are seeking strength if one particular beat is off at the moment.


  1. How can you bring worship into your everyday life?
  2. What does worship mean to you?
  3. How important is community when it comes to worship?

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