It really is Simple.
Worship, by course , is a simple thing. After all we have our liturgy and schedule. Just follow that and you're good. Unfortunately, too many of those things that we see as worship, relate to mode rather than to the essentials. Too often our worship is defined and directed by expediency rather than obedience. This seems to be the way that we have written the script. We have contextualized both the content and location of worship,---- so what's so difficult about that? If we do the right thing (content, liturgy) in the right place (location, church-house), then "it is well with my soul."
Let me shatter that context for just one moment. I would do so, with perhaps, one of the most powerful illustrations of worship in all of scripture. It may not be one you would choose as an example, but indulge me just a few minutes of your time.
The story is found in Matthew 26:7-13.
"A woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."
In this situation a very unlikely person, in a very unlikely place, did a very unlikely thing to honor Jesus. She just walked in and totally tossed out all convention. For a moment there was no liturgy, no schedule, no normal context in which to define, or judge, her actions. But it seems as if she was spontaneously moved to act out of a spirit of love and adoration. She had lost sight of all the other things that would have preempted this marvelous display. She walked right passed all the objections as if she didn't hear them or see them at all. At that moment it was only Jesus and herself. Nothing or no one else mattered; she was there to worship her Lord. When all is said and done, is worship anything more or less than this?
You know, I guess my opening statement was right after all, worship really is a simple thing. Maybe, just maybe, it's our liturgy and schedule that have complicated this beautifully simple thing of worship. Maybe we have added so many expectations that we cannot fulfill them. We judge the effectiveness of worship on these expectations. We expect certain styles or certain responses before we add our seal of approval. In our story, however, Jesus was not moved by their expectations, but by her simple act of worship.
Wouldn't it be great if we could bring our thoughts of worship to the lowest common denominator, or to the most essential. I truly believe that the most essential things in worship are represented by two words, worthy and holy. Whenever we see the hosts of heaven worshipping, usually these words are involved in the context. His worthiness should be our motivation, and His holiness our inspiration. Our motives become pure when we stand in awe of His holiness , and fully and truly recognize His worthiness. Do you think it's possible that maybe we could come before the Almighty unconcerned about anyone or anything else, and simply throw ourselves at His feet in an unashamed act of worship? The day we do that, is the day we will experience more of God's presence than we ever thought possible.
It really IS that simple.