One of my pet peeves is the way in which we refer to “worship teams” at church (and I do this, too). At my church we often use that term to refer to the musicians who lead our corporate singing (which we unhelpfully call “worship”). This, however, is not an accurate designation and its use diminishes what it means to truly worship God. Worship is much fuller than any “worship team” could ever pull off, no matter how good they are at what they do (and our teams are very good at what they do).
When we refer only to the musicians as the “worship team” and to singing songs as “worship,” we misuse the terms. Worship is broader and deeper than this. Worship is the whole of what we do on Sunday mornings, for starters, not just the singing. We worship when we pray. We worship when we sit in silence. We worship when we take communion or collect the offering or respond to the reading and proclamation of God’s word. It’s all worship. To worship fully in this context is to be fully present and to more fully participate in the goings on each Sunday morning.
But even that’s not enough, really. What happens Sunday mornings (or whenever the Body of Christ gathers together) is worship, but it is not the whole of it, not by a long shot – any more than a wedding is the whole of a marriage. A wedding can be beautiful and inspiring and deeply meaningful for all involved, but the real work begins a week later, when the honeymoon is over. Healthy, loving marriages are not limited to date night, dinner and a movie or the intimacy of the bedroom. No. The real beauty and power of marriage is lived out in everyday acts of servanthood, sacrifice and commitment in parenting, balancing the checkbook, buying the groceries, fixing the meals, washing the dishes, mowing the yard and taking out the trash, to name a few of the most mundane. Real marriage is much broader than the heights of romance and passion. It finds its fullness in the ordinary expressions of love – heart, soul, mind and strength. In the same way, real worship finds some of its greatest meaning and power in what the people of God do the other six days of the week – the sacred service of all of our hearts, souls, minds and bodies – beyond what we do corporately (and even passionately) on Sunday mornings.
As we continue this journey through the Advent Season, our calling begins with what it means to worship God in Christ fully – beyond Sunday mornings, beyond singing songs and praying, but in all of life – including the ways in which we celebrate the Christmas story. What does worship look like for you during this season? How might you choose to worship Christ more fully?