FY100 06: A Journey Into Worship

This week for our InResponse question, we are seeking to reframe, retell, restate, rearticulate, a definition of worship based on the following situations. Through our studies in What Is Worship?, we’re seeking to re-examine what worship is, how it lives in the world, and how the form of it shifts from situation to situation – while the content remains the same.

Friends outside our class, feel free to join in.

A Journey Into Worship

You are sitting across the table from a convict. He is in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, and he is a Christian. His heart is aching to get out, to see his family and friends again. He wants to meet with God, but finds the old ways of doing it just don’t connect with him in this place. He has no privacy. What is worship?Corporate singing?

Worship is…

You are sitting at the bedside of a cancer patient, who will die in the next few hours. She is a dear friend, though hollow in her eyes and thin to the bone. She can speak to you by blinking her eyes, the only thing she has the energy to do. She used to dance in worship in her church; it was her favorite time with God. You are told by her friend that she wants you to sing worship songs to her, for as long as you want. What is worship?A happy time?

Worship is…

You are in Nepal, amidst the swirl of dense religious activity, incense and sexual religious rites. Trusted people throughout the village tell you that some of the swami’s actually do levitate. What is worship?An encounter with spiritual power?

Worship is…

You are in the Sistine Chapel, and you look up to see the magnificently-colored paintings of Michelangelo. What is worship? Creativity?

Worship is…

You have a 3 month old infant, who won’t sleep through the night. She keeps you and your spouse awake with her endless crying, and you have no capacity to much of anything musical or creative day in and day out. What is worship?Leading or participating in a church worship team?

Worship is…

A firefighter (you don’t know what he believes about God) is running into a burning building, after others who are unable to get out, as the twin towers fall. What is worship?A bunch of bad people doing good things?

Worship is…

You are asked to do the music for a funeral. It is the funeral of a little girl, 3 years old, who was struck by a car. What is worship?A wonderful church service?

Worship is…

You are at a Dave Matthews Band concert and the crowd of 70,000 is grooving to the music of the band. A girl screams out, “Marry me, Dave!” For 2 hours the crowd is mesmerized by the lyrics and music of the band. What is worship? Only music with Christian lyrics?

Worship is…

Gathered in the diverse church of 500 you lead in worship is a single mother, her mentally handicapped child, a computer engineer at the local hospital, a machine shop worker, a truck driver, little children, an artist, high school students, university students and a garden supply store owner. As you step up to the microphone, you strum your first chord. What is worship? Your favorite music, led in front of a crowd?

Worship is…