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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Get Out Your Bibles, Kids...

Let me start by saying that I feel like I have one of the most cultural diverse, spiritual active, Biblically literate readerships in the land. You guys know your stuff. You have the courage of your convictions, the ability to reasonably discuss and the passion for some hardcore debate should the need arise.

This isn't just flattery...I actually want to know what you guys believe the Bible to say about a particular aspect of worship that's been on my mind lately.

DOES WORSHIP ALWAYS REQUIRE PHYSICAL ACTION?

When we read Psalms - what someone once called "the language of praise" - it seems that we find a pretty consistent message: worship is something you do. But does that translate into physical action, without question?

Singing, kneeling, clapping, shouting, praying, dancing, communion? And I would even suggest that commands to "be still" are pretty physically dependent. In fact, I think that most of us find the "getting still" to be a pretty taxing physical challenge in today's very fast-moving lifestyle.

I'm also not talking about worshipping "with our lives." We all know that our lives are to honor God and that is and act of worship to Him, but in this case, I'm talking specifically about the act of corporate worship - that thing we do when we get together with other believers.

In your opinion, is there a Biblical basis for a claim like this? Can we look at the Word and say, "Yeah, worship is always gonna' require us to do something physically." Or, is there Biblical precedent to say, "No. Sometimes, God doesn't want us to do anything during corporate worship." I'm not talking about sitting and listening to a sermon. I'm talking about the set-aside time in churches all over the world where the point is to publicly and corporately adore God and thank Him and praise Him for His goodness and righteousness.

I'd love to know what you think. (And if you could, please include Bible reference. You know, to, like, save me time...)

5 comments:

Johnny! said...

"Rejoice with trembling,"
"Present your bodies..."
Men are physical, so physicality in worship is inescapable. We must never forget that to be separated from our bodies is a result of the Fall, and we are incomplete until the Resurrection. There's a very strong temptation toward Platonism that the Church has always had to fight.

Since it's impossible to not involve the body, the question of order becomes very important. You're going to do something with your body; will that something be acceptable?

Paul James said...

I'm not sure how corporate worship would be any different than personal worship -- I have to already be worshiping to worship with a corporate body.

With regards to physicality, since what Johnny said is very true (it's impossible to not involve the body) maybe the question resides in stillness and activity? Stillness of body to engage the spirit and soul?

An interesting topic and I look forward to reading more posts and comments.

Jinx said...

Just a warning, but there might not be anything "bibical" about my answer...but also falling in line with what's already been said.

When you have the Holy Spirit running through your body, and your mind and heart are focused on the only thing that's truly worth our worship...you will be very hard pressed to keep your body from joining in in some way, shape or form. If we are to worship God with our entire being, that seems like it would have to include our physical bodies as well.

Robert Conn said...

I have often wondered how the person who can not move physically worships if physical movement is a necessity. I think to say it is mandatory is to be dogmatic and arrogant. However to say it is unnecessary for those who are capable is to be ignorant and lazy.

I think the premise has to do more with the nature of the corporate worship. Is your corporate worship trying to light everyone's fire so they can wield their spiritual swords throughout the rest of the week? OR is your corporate worship a celebration of the community you should have been experiencing that week prior to Sunday morning? BIG DIFFERENCE to me.

The former looks and feels more like a windup toy that speeds at first and drops off quickly. The latter looks to me more like a party and somewhere I long to be.

Johnny! said...

I don't believe it is an either/or thing with that. Both are necessary. We are to both be equipped to fight our fight and celebrate the previous victories.

A paraplegic is still presenting his body by virtue of attending the Church, and is still using it--neurons fire, senses apprehend, etc. But in that that person doesn't participate in the liturgy, he's handicapped. He isn't in sin, but he is hampered in what he should be doing if he was okay.