We like quotations. They are short, concise, memorable and sometimes funny. They help us convey our thoughts and ideas. There are numerous books and websites with quotations categorized and indexed for just about any subject you might want to use a quotation for. So it goes without saying that quotes on worship are quite numerous as well.
One of my favorite non-Biblical quotes on worship goes like this:
“Worship is the submission of all our nature to God.
It is the quickening of the conscience by His holiness;
the nourishment of mind with His truth;
the purifying of the imagination by His beauty;
the opening of the heart to His love;
the surrender of will to His purpose –
and all of this gathered up in adoration,
the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable,
and therefore the chief remedy of that self-centeredness
which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.”
(William Temple, 1881 – 1944)
Google William Temple Worship Quotes and you’ll find this quote. Folks often use it when they write about worship. However the quote is often shortened. Sometimes it ends after “purpose,” or after “capable.” You’ll have to dig a bit to find that last phrase included, “and therefore the chief remedy of that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.”
But this last phrase is what I like about it. It tells me why worship is hard. As a worship leader, I must ask you to forgive me, because all too often I make worship look easy, and its not. Worship is hard. Its hard because we are “self-centered.” Its hard because worship is submission. Worship is selfless. Worship is surrender. Those are things that are really hard for us humans to do.
When it gets right down to it, worship is impossible. Its impossible because we cannot submit our lives to God’s total control. Its impossible because we sin. Its impossible because we are human.
Yet worship IS possible because God loves us. He sent Jesus to die for our sin, give us life, and literally live inside of us. Worship is possible because God loves us and gives us mercy and grace and power to worship Him. This worship we give God is still rife with imperfection, yet some day we’ll worship Him perfectly. And we humans have a hard time looking forward to that day. ‘Til then, we’ve got to make worship a priority in our lives and do our best to submit our lives to God’s glory. And this submission thing has to be done constantly. We’re imperfect, and our self-centeredness creeps into our lives on a daily basis.
Worship is hard. But it is vital to a healthy life. We’ve got to do it.