Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thinking About Worship

Why do we worship? Should we worship? What is the point of worship?

In my experience, worship has been about singing simplistically about what YHWH is doing somewhere else, and maybe, if we sing hard enough, he'll grace us with his presence. I was reading through the Book of Tobit in the Apocrypha, and was surprised to find Jewish prayers that sound so very different from my own.

For instance, they bless the Eternal God, the God that lives forever (T. XIII:1). They then bless his attributes and character, his mercy and judgments. They don't separate YHWH into specific categories and pick them apart. The worship is holistic, living rightly in community. "O ye sinners, turn and do justice before him." (T. XIII:6).

Justice in society is taken very strongly in Tobit, Proverbs, the Prophets and the New Testament. Life is taken with the utmost sincerity, worshipping YHWH who gives life from his breath. Personally, I find worship that speaks in symbols and pictures to be the most divine. The most prominent worship song to me is Blue Pail Fever by Woven Hand. I will post the lyrics at the end, but speaking of empty houses, breath, dust, heat and light gives us images that help one to understand the limitations of such worship. It not only gives us canvas, but colors.

Interestingly, Scripture tells us to go to his dwelling place and cajoles us to worship at his footstool (Ps. 132:7).

There is no need to invite YHWH to be among us, especially when one is made in His image. It is not enough to pay respect or to sacrifice an animal. It is to be comfortable in your skin, to breath, and to speak as one sings the praises of the unknown. And the unknown breath that enshrines humanity is more than welcome in his own home.

Worship is conversation and reckoning with one that is most dear, most high, most humble, most loving.

Like a voice in an empty house/ breathe your breath and speak to me/ speak to me./ Its a dry leaf that shivers on the branch/ what matter if the wind cast it down with a ruthless hand/ because we remember always that it took place forever/ thy kingdom come in whosoever.

--Nick

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