A dim church service. Eyes are closed. Hands are raised. The strum of an acoustic guitar. Voices singing songs of worship. This is what most of us think when we think of worship, am I right? But what about this…
“Then Moses presented the ram to the LORD for the burnt offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the ram's head, and Moses slaughtered it. Then Moses took the ram’s blood and splattered it against all sides of the alter. Then he cut the ram into pieces, and he burned the head, some of its pieces, and the fat on the alter. After washing the internal organs and the legs with water, Moses burned the entire ram on the alter as a burnt offering. It was a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the Lord, just as the Lord commanded him.” Leviticus 8:18-21
Disgusting, I know! But what if worship wasn’t all about the fancy songs and the good music? When we hear the word worship we think of something beautiful, usually a song. Worship is not just about our mind or our emotions and just like us, worship may not always feel great. Worship is an act of communication with God. It doesn't have to be beautiful, showy, public, or emotional. It is giving God the contents of our heart, which may be the dirtiest part of our lives.
Obviously that scripture was from the Old Testament and no one worships by cutting up a ram now, but it shows us that worship may not always be beautiful. Most of the time it is sacrificial.
Sacrifices require work, tears, and change. They require giving up something - an animal, like in the Old Testament, or maybe a habit, like now. We are creatures of habit. We continue to do something no matter how bad it hurts us. But once we realize we need to give it up, it seems like giving it up hurts more than hanging onto it.
God wants our heart. The dirty, the bad, the smelly, the pure, the hard, and whatever else may be in a heart because it is a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the Lord, just as the Lord commanded. Giving up our heart is a sacrifice, no matter who you give it to. It takes love, commitment, and yourself.
Worship is giving yourself to God. You may be giving Him the good with a heart of thankfulness or maybe you've have hit rock bottom and you’re giving Him everything that is left so he can lift you up. Or like most, you are somewhere in between. You have your good days and you have your bad days and you just take each as a part of life. Instead, thank God for the good and pray through the bad. He may take your hand and walk you through the fire, He may pluck you from it, or He may extinguish the fire all together. How He works is still a mystery to me.
Music is a part of worship. Songs help us to relay the contents or desires of our heart. But the music is not the worship. The worship is how you communicate with God while the music is playing.
Worship requires sacrifice - sacrifice requires death, which is not a beautiful thought. In the Old Testament it was the death of an animal, now it is the death of ourselves and our will in order to take on God and His will. But we are only dying to ourselves to gain what God has, which is beautiful.