Monday, October 05, 2009

Some thoughts on Worship (i)

I've been thinking about Banksy's post on Greenbelt, and the discussion that the Sunday service generated on Greenbelt's own website. I was going to write some further comments about what I thought was bad about it (and some about what was good) but the more I've pondered, the more I want to go back to first principles. So a short (three or four post) sequence on worship, to put my criticisms of GB in context.

This post is really some ground clearing thoughts.
a) Worship doesn't have to involve God. That is, something can be worshipped without being God - money, power, celebrity and so on. Worship is essentially about giving worth _to_ something, praising it and celebrating it.
b) The claim of the believer is that the worship of the living God gives life, whereas worship of anything else (dead gods/idols) bleeds life away.
c) Worship (good worship) normally requires some form of ecstasy, which is not a comment about little yellow pills, rather that the person sharing in the worship should be in some way taken 'out of themselves'. Ecstasy in this sense doesn't have to be an awe-inspiringly joyful and eye-popping flashes of light (though it can be those things); it can be the 'still small voice of calm'.
d) Another way to describe this is to talk about a sense of transcendence, that those sharing in the worship become aware of something bigger than their own preferences and concerns. That 'something bigger' may or may not be God.
e) An example of worship which is transcendent but not necessarily 'of God' is this:

In the next post I want to talk about what makes 'worship' into 'Christian worship'.

Other posts in this series:

What makes worship distinctively Christian
Participation and Performance
Worship is useless
Greenbelt 09

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