What do you think of when you hear the word “worship”?
We talk about it a lot as Christians, but it can be difficult to define. For many, the first thing that comes to mind is music. Whether it’s classic hymns or more modern songs, we often associate worship with gathering together to sing praise to God.
That’s certainly one aspect of worship, but I’ve come to realise there’s more to it. Because I was a musician, I found myself being asked to “lead worship” in different contexts, but first I had to discover what worship actually was.
It turns out, that while music is often an expression of worship, it’s really more about our attitude and our heart.
My favourite definition of worship comes from William Temple, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1942-44:
“Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose – all this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable.”
It’s way more than just singing!