One of the areas of life to which I most heartily devote myself, (both doing and figuring it out...clearly haven't mastered it yet) and the state in which I am always trying to rest (but just knowing what to do doesn't always make it easy), is that of worship. This is not a Sunday morning thing, but rather a lifetime of enjoying the presence of God. Romans 12:1 reminds us to "present [our] bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is [our] spiritual service of worship". This is clearly in some respects a very daunting task, although it is equally freeing as we realize that we are not bound to find the 'perfect' style or the 'right' place to 'do worship'. What worship seems to be about is my heart connecting with my Father's. My relationship with Him deepening, and my experience of Him being more tangible. If I believe that there is no one right way/style/place to worship, and if I see worship as serving my Lord with my whole life and watching Him at work around me, then worship can be as divine as hearing the Hallelujah Chorus or as mundane as changing my baby's diaper. It is about my heart. Am I able to soften my heart to feel His love and give praise back to my Father when I find myself scrubbing toilets?
For me worship needs to involve both knowing who God is, and then feeling His love for me and mine for Him. There is both the head and the heart that need to be engaged. John Piper is helpful when he writes "True worship comes from people who are deeply emotional and who love deep, sound doctrine" (pg. 76 Desiring God) For me to serve a God that I really haven't met through the Word is not true worship...at least not worship of the Lord as He says He is. And for me to delve into the depths of theology but not feel a stirring of my heart and emotions, delighting in my knowledge and experience of Him is not true worship...perhaps it is merely a good academic exercise. If I can go through my day filling my God-given role in a way that glorifies Him and satisfies me in Him, then that is worship, Sunday morning music or not.
And speaking of Sunday morning music, I have been witness to so many extremes of congregational singing from acapella psalmody to men's choirs, from full band teams to classical soloists, from the extremely talented and trained to the family dinner table. Each of these have on occassion been entirely 'worshipful' and entirely trite and 'entertaining'. The difference is when I see the heart of the worhsip leader and when my own heart is engaged. "Where feelings for God are dead, worship is dead. " (pg.79 Desiring God).
Perhaps when you strip away all that is cluttering our concept of worship, what is left is relationship. And the best way to grow and develop any relationship is to get to know that person really well and to soften your heart to show love to them, being equally vulnerable to receive love from them.
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