What is Worship?

This is a big question lately among evangelical groups and in popular Christian self-help books.  Is worship the music?  Is it the sacraments?

Is it raising your hands and having an emotional reaction to praise music?

Is it how you feel when you look at nature or listen to Iona (Celtic Christian band)?

Is it God-centered rather than man-centered?  Is it old hymns or poppy praise music?

Is it serving the poor/needy in the name of Christ?

Is it a praise and worship band at a concert leading an auditorium full of blissed-out Christians in the band’s newest praise chorus?

Here is the OrthodoxWiki answer:

Worship is faith in action. In the words of Georges Florovsky: ‘Christianity is a liturgical religion. The Church is first of all a worshipping community. Worship comes first, doctrine and discipline second.’

Orthodoxy sees people as liturgical creatures who are fully complete when glorifying God.

I’ve also seen it defined as the expression of Orthodox beliefs and Christian experience through the Eucharist.

The Orthodox Study Bible defines worship as,

Literally, ‘to bow down.’  In the Christian sense worship is the adoration of God through participation in the services of the Church, the highest act of a Christian (John 4:19-24).  See also LITURGY. p. 810

Liturgy is defined as,

The work or public service of the people of God, which is the worship of the one true God.  The Divine Liturgy is the Eucharistic service of the Orthodox Church. –p. 802

The Divine Liturgy is basically the Orthodox version of Mass.  The North American Antiochan church posted:

Worship is defined as: For Orthodox Christians, corporate worship is the sacramental expression of and participation in Holy Tradition, and is the indispensable foundation of ministry at all levels. Upon this foundation, we must cultivate a daily personal prayer life and reading of Holy Scripture. –Archpriest Joseph Purpura, “What is Worship?”

One benefit of Orthodox worship is that it preserves intact the doctrine and teachings of the Orthodox Church.

As quoted above, personal study of Scripture (and the Church Fathers) is highly encouraged.  But in countries in which Christianity is suppressed, and with the illiterate, such personal study is impossible, making the Divine Liturgy crucial to proper understanding by the Orthodox faithful.

Here is an online library of articles on Orthodox worship.

Fr. John Matusiak of the OCA also discusses worship here: Orthodox Worship vs. Contemporary Worship and The Nature of Our Worship.

Written probably in 2007

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

End Times and Christian Zionism 
God’s Purpose/Supremacy of God Doctrine 
Cat and Dog Theology 
Raising One’s Hands in Worship 
Christian Music 
On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts
On church buildings 
The Message Bible 
The Purpose-Driven Life 
The Relevance Doctrine, i.e. Marketing Churches to Seekers 
Republican Party 
Abortion Protests 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation

Page 2:

Name it and Claim It Doctrine, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith-Formula Theology, Word-Faith Theology,  Positive Confession Theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, and whatever else they call it
More about Pat Robertson
Dr. Richard Eby and others who claim to have been to Heaven
Women in Marriage/the Church
Spiritual Abuse 
Other Resources 

Page 3:

Why do bad things happen?
Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts?  Or, how should we evangelize, then?
Angels: Is “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti a divine revelation or fiction?
Halloween: Not the Devil’s Holiday!
Hell and the Nature of God 
Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? 
Is everybody going to Hell except Christians?
How could a loving God who prohibits murder, command the genocide of the Canaanite peoples? 
What about predestination?
Musings on Sin, Salvation and Discipleship 
An Ancient View which is in the Bible, yet new to the west–Uncreated Energies of God

Page 4:

The Didache 
Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 
Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?  (also in “Life” section, where it’s more likely to be updated) 
Does the Pill cause abortions, or is that just another weird Internet or extremist right-wing rumor?
What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?
Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?
What is Worship? 
Evangelistic Trips to Already Christianized Countries
Fraternities, Sororities, Masonic Lodge 
Was Cassie Bernall a Martyr?
Some Awesome Things heard in the Lamentations Service (Good Friday evening) during Holy Week

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church