Due to the vastness of this topic, I will try to keep it concise (otherwise I’ll start rambling and you’ll get lost or bored or both).
Worship, very simply, is bringing glory to God (glory, by the way, is defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary as “praise, worship, and thanksgiving offered to God”). We do this through the offering of our resources, our time, our talent, our praise, our choices, our body, our lives. Worship, when viewed as something that pours out of our lives (rather than something that is only done in a church service), is a process of learning to surrender ourselves in every moment to God.
So that is how I define and understand “worship”; however, this leads to a bigger question: why?
disclaimer: I will be addressing this question from the presupposition that there is a God and that He is worthy of our worship. I apologize to all you atheists and agnostics who may want more… that is a discussion for another time.
In the Old Testament account we read time and time again that the people of Israel experienced some sort of deliverance and/or redemption by the hand of God. Their response was always to worship Him. The same is true in the New Testament. The worship of Christ was always preceded by a salvific act: physical healing, spiritual deliverance and finally, redemption achieved through his sacrifice on the cross.
Worship is a response to the salvific work of God.
There is much more to say about the “how and why” of worship, but before I do I want to discuss a little bit about Art. Tomorrow.
So for now I leave you, again, with this one thought: God saves; we worship.