Let us perhaps start with what worship is not:
- It is not the slow songs we sing at church;
- It is not the mere gathering of people for a church service.
According to Erlander (echoed by friend Allan Storey), worship consists of the following three steps:
- Giving thanks
You see, the Israelites of old loved telling stories. Festivals and holy seasons were shaped around their stories. During special days, we are told, the young ones of the community would go to the elders and ask: "Why are we celebrating this day?". The elders would then tell the stories of God's faithfulness, of Israel's liberation from Egypt, etc. Remembering helps us grow in faith. It reminds us that if God was faithful back then, then God will be faithful now.
The second step is retelling. I think the point is covered partially in the previous point, but our retelling is not only of what happened in the distant past, our stories grow each day. Every day we can have something new to share. I think we fail to retell, because we miss the first step. We don't make time to remember. The third step is to give thanks. When we remember and retell, we find that we have reason to give thanks, acknowledging that God is part of our story...or perhaps we are part of God's story.
Do you struggle with worship? Well, try this. When you wake up, look at your diary. Pray for all the events that lie ahead, all the people whom you are planning to meet. Live the day fully. Before you go to bed, go back to your diary and think of how God was present in each moment. REMEMBER. Now, tell someone of at least one experience in the day where you felt God's presence. RETELL. Take a moment to GIVE THANKS.
The more we do this, the more we will notice that we are not the masters of our own destinies, but that we are part of a greater story of which God is the main character. When we don't do this, Allan tells us that FEAR + FORGETFULNESS = HIERARCHY (Power struggle). Don't go there today.