Monday, February 14, 2011

The Tools of Worship

Sometimes, we feel like that dentist when we worship. We all have different worship tools that we have been trained to use, find comfortable or prefer more than others. These tools could be a number of different things ranging from a certain song choice or musical style to specific postures in worship, or even the order of a worship service. We get to be very comfortable and very good at using certain tools and if we are given a different set of tools we can feel frustrated just like that dentist would. However, if the tools we are given really are biblical and really are effective responses of worship (unlike the screw drivers, a calculator and WD-40 would be for a teeth cleaning) then we can learn to use these tools and benefit from them. 
There are a handful of Hebrew and Greek words that have to do with worship. One such Greek word is, proskuneo, which means to prostrate one’s self, or kiss towards, in order to pay homage and reverence. Proskuneo is the word translated as “worship” in Revelation 4:10 which says, “the twenty-four elders will fall downbefore Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who livesforever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne…” Therefore, an example of this might be when we sing songs full of adoration. In this instance we could say that we are worshiping with an attitude of proskuneo and during these times it would be fitting to bow down in reverence. 
A Hebrew word, yadah, is translated as the English word “praise” in Psalm 67:3 which says, “Let the peoples praise You, OGod; Let all the peoples praise You”. This same word is translated as “give thanks” in such places as Psalm 9:1 which says, “I will givethanks to the LORD with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders.” The definition of yadah has to do with throwing or casting, thanksgiving, laud and praise. Worshiping in an attitude of yadahmight be conducive to praising God with loud instruments and boisterous singing.
One last Hebrew word we will look at is abad. It is translated into the English word “worship” in such places as, Exodus 3:12 where God says to Moses, “when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain." The definition of abad has to do with working and laboring as servants. Our whole lives are to be service to God and we are to honor him with our work. This means that even church workdays are an act of worship. In fact, some people seem to be wired in such a way that they experience worshipful moments more often during a church workday than they might during a candlelight service!
Biblical worship has room for many different expressions. Each generation and culture seems to find its own unique expressions ofproskuneo, yadah, and abad. No matter what style of expression, let’s understand that biblical worship is deeper than music and broader than style. It is an everyday lifestyle! Though awkward at first, we can learn to appreciate each other’s preferences and worship together in love and unity. The body of Christ is so diverse, and that is a beautiful thing. 
Let’s make room in our toolboxes for more tools!