For those of Christian Faith, worshipping God is a central pillar of the Faith, and worship, across the span of time, the borders of culture and the split of Denominationalism is a multi-faceted event in the Christians life. No two people worship identically, no two groups of Christians have an identical liturgy. And that’s OK.
There are, however, some organizations who have white-labeled Worship and mass-produced it, created the methodology and then sold it as the recipe, like Grandma’s Sweet Apple Pie. Get one ingredient wrong or out of order and the pie is ruined. But worship isn’t like that and every worshipper should be free to worship in the Beauty of Holiness.
What is worship?
Worship is defined as “The feeling or expression of reverence and adoration of a deity.” To sit in awe and wonder of God is worship. To lift up holy hands without wrath and doubting is worship. (1 Timothy 2:8) To sing songs praising the promises of God and the grace of God is worship.
Some cultures and groups view worship as certain liturgical patterns that remind them of the grace of God, such as the Cross. They may carry it with them to remind them of Christ’ sacrifice, or they may place it in their home as a reminder. Other groups and cultures may form completely different practices in their patterns of worship to place them into a state of mind that is focused on the diety and grace of Christ.
Prayer is included in worship, in that Christ told us the first step to prayer is acknowledging God, and His majesty, and praising him for it. And singing before the Lord, lifting our eyes and hands heavenwards to recognize His Sovereignty and divinity.
Whatever the method, so long as He (Christ, the God of heaven and earth) is the sole benefactor and focus of the event, it can be worship. There really is no single prescribed method of worship, though man has attempted to create templates for successful repetition of what they call Worship.
Without getting into the weeds of the origins of modern-day liturgical practices (Read Pagan Christianity for an in-depth historical study of the origins of the majority of North American ‘Church’ practices.), you’ll see a similar pattern emerging in the majority of Church houses on Sunday morning today.
Normally, ‘church’ includes an introduction, or benediction, a prayer. This is generally followed up by a few songs, and most commonly is a time to request and give offerings. From here, the service progresses into an opening statement, a testimony, or even another prayer that paves the way for the minister to give his sermon.
After the sermon is presented a time of repentance and seeking God is often offered known generally as the ‘altar call’ which can be followed by or simultaneously include more worship music. At the end of this, the congregation may receive announcements and be dismissed.
Yet, while people have followed and mimicked similar templates for a long time, worship is so much more than the Sunday AM norm. Worship can be tears shed in the quiet of your home in reverence to the blessings of God. The emotional response to a gratitude one feels towards God.
Worship can also be the simple ‘Thank you Jesus’ when one discovers their garden is growing abundantly more than they anticipated, or thankful praise when narrowly avoiding a car accident. Worship, simply defined, is showing reverence to God.
What is Holiness?
This is a study all unto its own, but the simplistic view of Holiness is that it is the imputed righteousness of Christ. He is the Holy One (Mark 1:24), and no man comes to the Father but by Him. (John 14:6) The mercy seat of God in the Tabernacle was the Holy of Holies. The indwelling Spirit of God is the Holy Spirit. There is none that is Holy except God.
Not a single living being can truly be Holy (perfect, and without flaw), but we are considered Holy by God who imparts His holiness upon us, through our belief and faith in His Son Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8), who was the only Sinless flesh to dwell upon the earth that paid the price upon the Cross for our sins so that God would no longer see them.
The bottom line is that God is Holiness. Not one of us can actually achieve that status on our own. We are dependant upon God imputing righteousness to us in order to be declared Holy before the Father by His Son Jesus Christ, through the power and working of the Holy Spirit that empowers us to do His will.
Some have claimed Holiness as a dress standard, or liturgical practice, or to be part of X denomination. Others have claimed this imputed status can be achieved by paying monies for the absolution of your sin, or that through the commands of another human being (priest) they can be absolved. (If you pay him enough… I.e. the selling of Indulgences that sparked the Reformation)
(Oneness Pentecostals are universally known as the Holiness Movement and likewise, within their ranks, the word ‘holiness’ quite literally means their dress standards.)
So, if none of us are holy, only God is, but we are to ‘Worship in the Beauty of Holiness’, how do we do that?
How to worship in the Beauty of Holiness
The plain and simple answer is just Worship! Sure, there are going to be Fundamentally minded Christians all across the spectrum who say things like, ‘How can you worship dressed like that…’, or, ‘How can you call that worship, singing country tunes??’, or ‘You can’t rap for Jesus and think he’s going to listen to you!’, or, ‘God isn’t going to listen to your Jesus rock and roll!’ Phooey I say!
At the end of the day, ALL of those things are human reasoning and human perceptions of what is right and wrong clouding a judgment against others! Just imagine, God, who gave His Son to be the blood sacrifice for you that He could impart His holiness upon you, knowing that you could NEVER be good enough to warrant being called Righteous, is looking down at us pitiful humans arguing if someone can make it to heaven and truly worship if they put on lipstick and nail polish/color. Really?
I know a young lady, who sang her heart out in the choir, and it was what she loved about Church, who was removed from that worship (and later left the church because of it) all because she dyed her graying jet black hair…jet black. She colored her hair her natural color due to graying early and some grumpy old man with pre-conceived notions of what was pleasing to God broke her worship for his ideological dogmatics, literally fulfilling the Scripture that says you (grumpy old men) SHUT the door to the Kingdom of Heaven from people by their pharisaical methods. (Matthew 23:13)
Just worship – with all your heart, your mind, and your soul – and God WILL receive it! (Matthew 22:37) For this is THE greatest commandment – worship is born of love and loving the Lord, and then loving your neighbor is fulfilling the commandment of God and giving Him what he wants.
Worship, in love, in the beauty of the Holy God, who gave a non-sinful sacrifice in love for YOU, so that you could have the freedom to Worship Him in whatever way is honoring to Him and the gift He has given YOU!
Worship in the Beauty of Holiness.