A Living Activity
We must bear in mind, through all of these movements of history, that we worship a living God who is not a mute idol. He is alive, and He does move in the midst of your history and mine. He does new things in fresh ways, and thus we cannot remain still in our worship of Him. Though His nature is unchanging, He does unique things in every generation. Therefore, we must worship God in response to His immanent presence, His present nearness to us, in our day and according to our common languages of expression. Whether we worship God in a Latin vesper or we worship Him in a modern day rap song, God is always to be worshiped in a living and non-static way.
This excerpt from “Worship: Yesterday, Today and Forever” by Jeremy Cook and Dan Wilt is an excellent summary of how our worship must be a living, adapting organism. The focus of our worship must never change, but the face of our worship must change; and I think this can be pictured in watching nature itself.
Any given species, any given organism exists with a unique DNA imprint. Through the course of its life, that DNA does not change. The organism remains the same entity, yet it’s appearance and behavior may change dramatically. Consider the butterfly which, though a single living entity, metamorphosizes into different forms with vastly different appearances and physical abilities during the course of its life. Think of the hibernating mammal who responds to the climactic and seasonal changes of its environment by sleeping for months on end, emerging in spring ready to resume its active life. Consider mankind himself. We mature from babes to seniors, adjusting throughout life to our environment, the seasons, our physical abilities or limitations, our health, our interests, etc. We are not static people. We are the same throughout life, but yet we are different at any given moment!
This is true of God as well. He is the same for all time, yet He works and moves differently in different cultures, times and places. Never does His purpose, His Word or His character change; but He does not reveal Himself in the same way to all people in all times. There was only one burning bush. There was only one disciple who walked on water. There was only one woman at the well. God chooses to act uniquely in the lives of His people, though He Himself is eternal and unchanging.
Why, then, do we sometimes try to worship God in a static, unchanging manner? We do not exhibit a static behavior like that in the rest of our existence; nor does the God we worship demonstrate a static character. Likewise, our worship, if it is to be alive, must be changing. In a word, life itself is defined by change! May God help me to be dynamic in my worship, open to receiving from Him and responding to Him in fresh, vibrant and new expressions!