|SERMONS, ESSAYS AND OPINIONS|
Worship is the expression of our love for God and is an integral part of a Christian's relationship with Him, our life and lifestyle. For example, we can include worship at the heart of our prayer by praising Him and by being in God's presence in an open loving and intimate way, as the Holy Spirit enables us. We also worship by doing whatever we do for God.
Jesus said that the first, and greatest, commandment is "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength". By far the most common word for worship in the New Testament is proskuneo which occurs 66 times (the other 6 words come only once each) means "I come towards to kiss".
This is the language of intimacy and love, and worship is an intimate love-response to the love that God offers us. Worship is the first mark of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and a natural response when we first commit our lives to Christ.
Christians worship God, through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Christ is at the heart of worship, because it is Jesus Christ who makes it possible for us to know that God loves us.
Worship is the first priority of every Christian, and so it follows that the main purpose of the church is to offer praise and glory to God. Whereas we may often speak and think as though the church is "for us", this is only part of the picture. What any service of worship does (or does not!) for us - teaching, comfort, inspiration - is a by-product of the central purpose, which is to worship God.
Praise and worship are often linked but are not the same. Praising God from the heart is an important way of worshipping Him, a way of expressing the intimate love-relationship that "proskuneo" describes.
Worship isn't just something that Christians do on Sunday. As an expression of our love for God it will be an integral part of our relationship with Him, our life and lifestyle. For example, we can include worship at the heart of our prayer by praising Him and by being in God's presence in an open loving and intimate way, as the Holy Spirit enables us. We also worship by doing whatever we do for God.
How Christians worship is a matter of great variety. Whole books have been written on how worship finds expression in the lives of Christians and of the Christian Church.
Church Services are an important time for collective worship, although sadly, not all "Worship" services have a deep quality of real worship in the New Testament sense. The formality of a 'high church' liturgy may seem a long way off the freedom and exuberence a charismatic meeting to some people. Matters such as music and 'style' of worship are largely dependent on culture, denomination and local tradition. No 'form' of worship can be claimed to be uniquely authentic. If the focus is on God, and if the form enables rather than inhibits being with God in loving intimacy with Him, the form is a matter of preference.
Though variable in style, there are some elements which are common to Christian worship services wherever they are celebrated. One thing that Christian churches almost all celebrate is the Lord's Supper (also called Holy Communion or the Eucharist). Some churches celebrate this every Sunday, others less often. Worship services usually include Prayer or readings from the Bible. Songs or hymns will often be sung. There will often be some explanation of the Bible readings - the Sermon.