I drive down the suburban road, and I notice they’ve add more portables in the old high school parking lot.
“When I was a senior,” I thought to myself, “At least we had some parking in that lot.”
Now it is all taken over by the educational demands of our city.
Driving home and going to my home church is something I only get to do four or five times a year. And I am grateful for the times that I get to sing and worship. I was moved to tears today when we sang In Christ Alone. Thus far, in my Holistic Worship series, I have spoken of three different types of worship:
1) Realized Worship: Worship when we are floored an realize the amount of God’s grace and abundance in our lives as exampled by the freeing of the Hebrew slaves in the Exodus narrative.
2) Sacred Worship: Worship that happens when we enter a sacred place, as evidenced by Jacob at Beth’el when he realized, somewhere in the deserts of the Levant, that God was powerfully present in his life, and that he is an heir of the promises of God.
3) Surrendered Worship: Worship stemming from our own situations where we, taking the example of Paul in Romans, worship even though circumstances might not be going the way that we had planned. In his case, Israel has turned away from the Lord, and Paul desperately wants Israel to return, but praises God in spite of Israel’s unbelief.
What I want to point out in this post is how all three of these types of worship are tied to what in Hebrew was referred to as ba ‘erets or “the land” (often in the OT this refers to Israel herself). In the first instance of realized worship, we realize from our contexts the greatness of God. In the second sacred worship, we realize that our land, the very places we often so heavily walk, are dripping with the Spirit of God in our new creation. In the third instance, we surrender to God in spite of the circumstances we are in.
In all of these contexts, God is Lord over your land. People sometimes debate whether worship is ultimately for man or ultimately for God, but I would argue neither one does a good job of understanding the true nature of worship. This is why, in my first post, I was attempting to separate the idea of worship and praise. Praise is written in a semi-liturgical fashion (more so in some churches than in others) to help us order our lives around God. In such contexts, we are reminded of the different types of worship that we are to do in our daily lives on the other six days of the week. The Sabbath is the culmination of all the worship we have been doing throughout the week in a day of praising the most high God as we are again reminded to praise him. Worship is ultimately giving all the glory to God. As we realize God is around us, realize the world we live in is a good and sacred world created by God, and surrender ourselves to God, we become more and more like Christ and are increasingly glorious. Our lives become more and more about God and about his kingdom, but at the time worship is designed to transform the worshiper as one of the divine disciplines to shape us more into the likeness of Christ. As we become more like Christ, we become beings who naturally want to give all praise, honor, and glory to the king of kings and the Lord of Lords.