The term worship is one that most of us have heard, and a word that should have significant meaning for us.  Wikipedia describes it as “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.”  Most of us probably say that we spend time in worship, usually one day each week on Sunday for a about an hour to an hour and a half.  That may be true, but is there more to it than that?

As I prepared for an upcoming sermon I did a little research on the topic.  Using the Logos software I found that early Christian worship was very similar in format to Jewish worship and early Greco-Roman worship. There would be reading of scripture, possibly from the Torah, the first 5 books of the Bible, or another scripture.  There would be some teaching on that scripture, prayers, and singing of Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  There would also be observance of the eucharist, or Lord’s supper, and possibly baptism.  The difference in the early Christian church’s worship is that they no longer saw the need for animal sacrifice because Jesus had made the ultimate sacrifice.  His sacrifice paid the full price for all sins.  The early church also chose to worship on the day of Jesus' resurrection, the first day of the week, which was also the first day of creation.  The Logos notes state, “The early church did not develop its worship practices in a vacuum; early Christians were influenced by traditional Jewish practices, and to a much lesser extent, by Greco-Roman practices.  Nonetheless, Christian worship possessed, and still possesses, characteristics that differ significantly from Jewish or Greco-Roman worship - specifically, the worship of Jesus.”  (Benjamin Espinoza)

Jesus would refer to worship in a conversation with an unlikely worshiper, and in a place where most Jews would argue there are none worthy of the heritage to allow them to worship.  Look it up in the 4th chapter of John where Jesus had a conversation with a Samaritan woman.  We are reminded in this conversation that there is more to us than just flesh and bone.  We are called to worship in spirit and in truth.  Each opportunity we take to step into that life giving, life shaping, and life inspiring relationship that God has offered us we are stepping into a life of worship.  Paul inspired his readers in the Roman church to consider there is only One Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who is worthy of their praise and there is no need for sacrifice other than each person submitting his will to God’s.  With this submission, we find truth in the transforming power of the resurrection that calls us to new, born again lives!

“Therefore I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”  Romans 12:1-2

In Christ’s Love,

Rob  Romans 12

 

Espinoza, B. (2016). Early Church Worship. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.