What comes to mind for you when you hear the word worship? I suspect for many of us it’s something like singing together to music on Sunday morning or at some other gathering with Christians. That’s basically what I thought about worship as I was growing up. From the age of 4-24 I attended the same church. But worship was not really the most important thing to me, I was more interested in socializing with friends and whether the preacher had a message that kept my attention. Yet I learned a form of worship in our church. I thought the way we worshipped was how everyone worshipped.
Then I moved to Edmonton to attend seminary. There I met people who came from different church traditions than I did. Some worshipped more formally, some worshipped louder, others worshipped longer. I began to see that people worshipped in different ways. We had to read different books on worship through seminary. I had never really thought about worship that much before and it kind of annoyed me at first. Why couldn’t I just stay in my little comfort zone of my home church and the way we worshipped there?
But God has been speaking to me over the years about this. He’s impressed on me that I have a lot to learn when it comes to worship. That’s primarily because I have a lot to learn about Him. Even though I’ve been a Christian for 43 years, I’ve just scratched the surface when it comes to knowing God. Through different struggles about worship that I’ve observed and been part of over those years, one thing has become clearer to me.
We all need to grow in our understanding of God. The more we understand Him, the more we will worship appropriately. This came together for me at the preaching retreat I went to this past May. Our instructor spoke often about worship because he taught from the Minor Prophets. Those prophets had a lot to say to God’s people about worship.
This professor made this statement that really stuck with me. We think that if we get worship right, we’ll encounter God. But we need to get God right. Then we can worship rightly. We think “if we just can get worship to the way we think it should be, then everything will be set for us to encounter God. But that’s backwards. We need to keep growing in our knowledge and understanding of God. The more we know Him, the more likely it is that we will worship Him appropriately.