(This was my guest post on Jeff Miller's "Consuming Worship" website www.consumingworship.org)
What Worship Means to Me
This sounds a lot like the essays I wrote in grade school like “What Did You Do This Summer” or “I Will Not Throw Spit Wads At Mike Smothers” … oops, that last one wasn't an essay... anyway, worship has been defined by a whole google of people (you like that?) and to me it's one of those things that are like the floating fuzz on the surface of your eye – the more you try to look directly at it the more it escapes you. In other words, worship happens when you're doing something else.
I have come to believe that praise is what you do with your mouth and worship is what you do with your heart. But ever since we discovered that worship makes us feel good, we've tried to grasp it, define it, box it, shrinkwrap it, stir it up and sprinkle it on our communion wafer. We have “worship” leaders and “worship” services and “worship” conferences and “worship” bands and “worship” nights and the beat goes on. If it's true that our definition defines our philosophy and our philosophy defines our actions (I don't know, I kinda made that up) then it's no wonder we see so little biblical worship.
Everybody thinks they're already doing it!
Okay, enough of the rant already. Worship is sacrificial. Worship is submission. Worship is making a salad from the fruits of the Spirit and offering it to the world. Worship is generosity. Worship is feeding the hungry and taking care of the widows (where have I heard that before...). Worship is what flows onto our saucers when our cup runneth over. Worship is following after peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. To desire justice, to show mercy and to walk humbly before your God.
If that's worship, then my incense must smell like B.O.
The good news is: God is not our heavenly Simon Cowell proclaiming all our efforts “self-indulgent rubbish”. The incense from our meager efforts, when sincere, mix with the blood of Jesus and become an acceptable offering before the throne. The aroma of the blood.
Amazing grace, how sweet the smell.