Service as Worship

We often think of worship as what we do in church on Sunday morning. It involves a piano or a guitar or some sort of musical instrument. There will be singing and scripture. Sometimes, art might be involved in some way. Worship is a structured time. It is organized and does not happen outside of its allotted space.

People make this distinction as a way to separate the holy from the mundane. Our life and what we do is not holy, it is mundane. Holy is an other worldly experience. It is the brief experience of seeing a beautiful sunset or birds chirping in the early morning. It is meant to be a brief excess of breath, a meditation or a prayer that lasts thirty minutes. It is meant to end at some point. We cross back into the realm of the mundane. Reality is the frustration we feel at evening traffic or the experience of eating a meal. It is ironic that the moments that we call “reality” or “mundane” are the ones that we are least conscious of. The mundane world is the one we live into every day without thought. Holiness happens in the moments when we finally take notice, when we are aware. We finally notice how the birds chirp in the morning and how it fills us with something akin to the breath of life.

Our holy moments, our connection with God are ones that happen when we are intentionally connected and aware. So, why do we only associate these with church? Christ says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’ “ (Matthew 22: 37-40). These are the ways you lead a “good” life. The classic John 3:16 verse begins, “For God so loved the world….” It begins God loves the world. God loved all people in the world and still does. He loved the world to send his son to die for us. Is not a way to love God by treasuring what he loves most, the people in this world?

John 15 reads, “Greater Love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.” But beyond friendship, what about our communities? The people who surround us on daily basis. If we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, then I think we must treat this as an act of worship. Love to God is shown by how we love others. When you say you love God, how do you express it? Through rejoicing and singing. But what about worshiping by serving others? Christ’s life is a testament to serving others. Christ died for all.

Community Service and volunteering often have a false feeling, as if we’re truly working for others. Volunteering for others is helping others, but I would be lying if I said that it was completely for others. I feel better when I volunteer. I feel good about myself and I’m more aware of my community. I am intentionally working for others. It’s one of the few times I feel connected to God in a way that is active and both loves my neighbors and God. Service is the glue that holds communities together, and is only possible by making a conscious commitment to others.


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