What is "Worship"?

"All of life is worship"

I've heard it so many times I couldn't count it. It is true that every moment of our lives is to be spent glorifying and honouring God, but when I hear this I want to ask a follow up question.

"Why, then, should Christians gather for worship?"

I can sing worship songs on my own, read and interpret the Bible on my own, pray on my own and do much of what occurs in the communal gathering on my own. So why should I gather with other Christians for communal worship? 

Unfortunately, many times when people say "all of life is worship" they are actually lessening the importance of communal worship, hence my follow up question. This occurs either intentionally, or unintentionally, but the lessening of it does happen nonetheless. This is just one more negative consequence of the individualism that is so rampant in much of Western society. 

This is a really important question, much more important than I think most evangelicals would consider it to be. It comes down to defining what we mean by worship, and specifically the communal gathering for the purpose of worshipping together. Brent Peterson, in his new publication Created to Worship, has provided what I think is a breathtaking definition of communal worship. There is much in this that I love and I think it  lays some helpful groundwork for further exploration on this topic; something I plan to do here in coming weeks and months. For now, I end with his definition.
Christian communal worship is the glorification of God and the sanctification of humanity as a divine-human event where God offers transformation and healing to help people become more fully what God created them to be and do. God breathes (inhales) and gathers in individual Christians to heal, transform, and renew them as the body of Christ to breathe (exhale) them out to continue the ministry of the incarnation that participates in the kingdom of God more fully coming. The consummation of the kingdom will come and God will be all in all.[1]

[1] Brent D. Peterson, Created to Worship: God's Invitation to Be Fully Human (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2012), 11.


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