|Worship through service at Minnie's Food Pantry|
My hope is to encourage you to change your thinking from worship as attendance at a performance in a building on a scheduled day to an act of total attention to the One who loves you and gave his life for you.
Worship is an expression of our total being. Jesus calls us to love God "with all your soul, with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength." (Mark 12:29-31) So, sitting and occasionally standing for an hour and thirty minutes and listening to people perform on a stage is not really the heart of the matter. Yes, gather with your brothers and sisters to worship in word and song, but don't limit your worship to someone's manufactured experience for you.
Here are my top 5 ways to worship. Three are individual, and two are in community.
- Immerse yourself in Scripture. I am a thinker before I am a feeler so "love the Lord with all your mind" resonates with me. Time in study of God's written Word feeds my soul. My concentrated attention to the preserved, living word of God's revelation gives worth-ship to God's words and ways over my own. The wind of the Holy Spirit blowing over the mystery of the Word enlivens my soul no other act of worship can.
- Converse with God in Prayer. I prove my friendship with someone by the amount of time I spend in conversation and time with him. The same is true with my relationship with God. Prayer is the restful, free-flowing dialogue with your Leader, Father, Guide, and Friend. Do not minimize the character and mystery of God by my comments. God came to us and invited us into this relationship. Prayer is trusting God at his invitation enough to speak with and hear from him. Prayers in spoken in unison with others is God-honoring. The cry of your heart is worship.
- Be active in God's Creation. This one is probably more unique to me than the others, but I am convinced God's sanctuary of Creation is the best environment for worship. Give me a trail in a wooded piece of land over a concert stage with a smoke machine any day to encounter the living Creator of all things. Running for me is an act of worship. The rhythm of my breathing and cadence become the metronome of my heart's song. Hiking in the hills and mountains is a full body expression of praise to my Maker and King. I am small in God's Creation. I think I am bigger than I am in the places I helped build.
- Serve with other followers of Jesus. Service is love in action to someone who may not pay you back in kind--and to someone who can. Jesus told us we are his friends if we do what he told us to do, and he told us to love others as we love ourselves. This is still the hardest command to follow because I "love me some me." Serving with others who follow Jesus is worship in action. We honor God and those God created by picking up the towel and washing the feet of others in Jesus' name.
- Share life together with real people. When I share my life--the ups and downs, victories and kicks in the teeth--with you and we pray together, cry together, laugh together, and talk past quitting time together, we live out the community of trust God has called us to be as his church. When I share life with you I worship with you because somewhere along the journey our advice and resources will run out, and we will turn to God and his people to take the next step. That turning to God and others is showing worth to One greater than ourselves. Life together with real people, not mask-wearers, is worship.
You can read other ways to worship and deepen your relationship with God in my latest book, A New Way of Living: living the Beatitudes everyday.