I read recently that dictionaries don’t necessarily tell us the actual meaning of a word, but the perceived meaning of the word—what most people understand that word to mean. And though a subtle difference, this nuance matters. Because I think a lot of us tend to live our Christian lives with the perceived meaning of words dictating our actions, when the real meaning may be lost.
For example, have you ever noticed that when it comes to the Christian faith there are certain buzzwords we use on a regular basis? We say these words without much thought to their original meaning or intent, or even how other people use these words and understand them. But for me, oftentimes I say these words—words like “salvation,” “righteousness” and “kingdom of God”—with little thought to how my understanding of them may or may not be accurate.
In May, XP3 released a series called Through the Window. It was our first series dealing with the commonly used but more commonly misused word of worship. We might hear the word worship and think “a service,” “contemporary,” “traditional,” “music,” “creeds,” etc. But in writing this series we hoped to rediscover an old word, guiding students through the book of Psalms, believing this book like no other captures the spectrum of life with worship woven in. The Psalms teach us that worship has less to do with one hour a week at church, and more to do with a way of life. And even more than that, it has to do with all of life. Not just the praise and the thanksgiving, but the hurt and the pain too, the questions and the uncertainties. By the end of the series we hope students see worship as being in relationship with God in the midst of all things, rather than simply being in harmony with Him only in the midst of the good things.
So, here is the question for us as leaders, as people who have insight into and a voice over the next generation of kids. What do our students—those in our ministries, in our classrooms and in our homes—see worship looking like in our lives? Before teaching this topic to your students, take a look at yourself and see where your worship may be lacking depth. Where is God not invited in because you are afraid of being a little too honest? Where is God not welcome, because you don’t think He can handle what He might find? And then take a few days to work on living a worship-full life—a life where worship has saturated every corner and every crevice—however messy or neat it might be. Worship is simply allowing God into everything, and knowing that just dialoguing with Him is an act of trust and an act of praise. And that is the kind of worship we are after—for ourselves and for our students.