Wikipedia is a collaborative online resource of quickly editable encyclopedic information. The name originated from the Hawaiian word wikiwiki, which means quick, hurry or fast. The founder of this informational resource, Jimmy Wales stated that Wikipedia exists to bring knowledge to everyone who seeks it.
And yet, in most high school and university academic circles its entries are not accepted as reputable references because Wikipedia is user-generated content that is not always verified as accurate, not always appropriate and is often accused of being systemically biased.
So what does this have to do with worship?
Worship is not our attempt to be with Jesus, it is our response to having been with Jesus. User-generated worship depends on our actions to connect with Jesus instead of our reactions to a relationship with Jesus. Consequently, user-generated worship is not always accurate, not always appropriate and is often systemically biased.
- The belief that what we do or how we do it will determine if God shows up.
- Reducing worship to music alone…and not just any music, but the music I like.
- Believing that if we sing or play it in a certain style…worship will automatically occur.
- Assuming true worship began with and will probably end with the music of my generation.
- Thinking my favorite must also be God’s favorite.
- Asking God to enter our user-generated story.
Worship that begins with Jesus is entering and doing God’s story. It is speaking, praying, singing, dancing, playing, telling, preaching, teaching, listening, reading and living God’s story.
Worship in Spirit and Truth is the realization that worship begins with a relationship with Jesus and the response to that relationship is manifested in our worship actions.
Beginning worship with God’s story is the understanding that He has already shown up and is initiating a relationship with us. Our response to His relationship is worship that cannot be contained in a single expression or limited to our contrived actions.
Robert Webber wrote, “Reflection on the incarnation and its connection to every aspect of God’s story is the missing link in today’s theological reflection and worship. The link is found in these words: God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.”