Worship is an act that develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God that is expressed in an act of worship. When we obey the command to praise God in worship, our deep, essential need to be in relationship with God is nurtured. -Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society
This is a really meaningful idea (for me) as far as what Worship is, what it is not, and how we approach the whole idea of Worship. Especially when we think of the (small) piece of Worship that is a Sunday morning service at a church building, this is a good thought to consider. It’s not that we are necessarily overflowing with joyful thoughts & feelings about & towards God (although that would be great, ideally), and we’re just ready to rock. But instead it’s the idea that we are entering into something that will have an effect on us, will change us, will turn us back to God and provide the opportunity for us to (re)connect with God.
I know sometimes I’ve gotten freaked out by people that show up to church, the music starts, and by the first Chorus their hands are up and they’re just rocking out… That’s just not me… I come to church (at best) feeling just OK, or (at worst) feeling like this is the LAST place I want to be right now. But I know that something happens to me while I’m there, and the longer I’m immersed in it (scripture, music, prayer, life-stories, etc.) it’s like my barriers come down, and something inside of me softens, and I start to feel again… And now I’m actually ready to hear what God may be saying to me, and I’m ready to be changed by what I hear.
I want to do everything that I can, in any venue where I have the opportunity, to create a space and (enough) time for people to be immersed in God’s presence and thus to be changed by it. I think sometimes, we know that this is what can (should?) happen, but we either don’t create a space that is conducive to this, or we don’t give people enough time for their walls to come down, for them to drop their “bags” that they brought in with them…