What does worship mean to you?
When I was confirmed in the Church of England, back in 2001, aged 13, the then Bishop of Carlisle Graham Dow prayed over me. He prayed over each of us, as he laid hands on us, and later wrote the words that had come to mind in a book for each newly confirmed person. I remember that everyone else got a written out piece of scripture, or a couple of sentences, but I received just 1 word.
But what did that mean? What does it mean for me and my life?
When we look at the dictionary, worship is an act of reverence and devotion towards a deity. It’s interesting then, isn’t it, that we (members of society) worship football players, reality television stars, pop stars and other celebrities. We elevate ordinary people, who are skilled in some cases yet seemingly unskilled for the most part, to the status of god, and for what purpose? Why do we worship other humans? In their frailty and fault, surely humans are the least deserving of our adoration? Recent studies talk about the damaging effects of our celebrity culture, especially the filtered lives portrayed on social media. So why do we do it to ourselves?
We can appreciate the joy a well-acted film brings to our lives, or the range of emotions we can feel as we cheer for our favoured football team to win. But do we really need to worship them? Have they really done anything for us in our life that is worthy of Godly worship? Are they truly worthy of elevation?
God, on the other hand, has done everything for me. Recently we celebrated Easter and that moment of resurrection, that eternal moment of Jesus’ victory over sin and death, that wonderful, life giving, earth shattering moment. It makes sense to me, then, that I revere God, and I am devoted to him. My whole life is devoted to him and so, therefore, my whole life should be worship.
Sometimes I’m a good worshiper. Sometimes I’m terrible. A lot of the time it’s because I place things in the place of God, and inadvertently worship them. Chasing a higher mark in an essay; staying up to watch a film instead of reading my bible; thinking I’m responsible for any success. I guess we all do it, but it’s about recognising it and trying again every day. Until our whole lives are offered up as worship to God.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12: 1-2)