Sankofa #16

Sankofa #16


I am confident that if we take a survey on the question of ‘What is Worship?’ we will have a myriad of views. Is there a definitive answer to the question, ‘What is worship’? Let’s be honest, our understandings of worship are probably coloured by the denominations we belong to.

I understand the Greek word for ‘worship’ is proskyneō and it is translated as ‘to kiss, to lower oneself in humility or reverence, to adore, to surrender completely to another’. Simply put, worship is about God (higher being) and not about us, our wants and needs.

Going to Church

By the way I dislike the term ‘going to church’. Church is not a place or a building. The Greek word translated ‘church’ in the New Testament is Ekklesia. A literal translation of ekklesia would be ‘a called-out assembly.’[1] The idea of worship in the Scriptures is always corporate, a gathering of the people of God. Hebrews 10:25 says, “… not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching”.


Today, worship is a multi-million-dollar industry. Record labels, artists, songwriters, conferences and even workshops are all devoted to worship. Usually, this worship is in the form of music, but scripturally-speaking, worship is more about the way we live our lives in relationship to God.

For many Christians today, worshipping Jesus is pretty much all they want to do. They want to sing to Jesus for 4 hours in a rock concert worship event. They want to listen to worship songs in their car, or on their smartphones 24/7. They love, love, love to worship Jesus.

Is that a bad thing you might ask? NO! Unless worshipping Jesus is just another way to avoid following Jesus? What if we’re all subconsciously choosing to worship Jesus because we’d much rather sing songs about how awesome Jesus is than turn around and love our enemies, or forgive those who hurt us, or bless those who curse us, or do good to those who hate us?

Of course, we need to emphasize that what we call worship today – singing about the love of Jesus forever and forever – is NOT what the Bible refers to as worship. Especially in the New Testament, where our worship is described as making our lives a living sacrifice to God where our service to others is how we express our love for God. [See Romans 12 and Matthew 25]

In Romans 12, Paul tells us that we should offer our bodies to God as a living sacrifice and that this is holy and pleasing to God; calling it “our true and proper act of worship.”

I believe it’s important to recognize just how much our definition of worship negates the actual definition of worship that the followers of Christ are specifically expected to practice; to express our love for God through acts of compassion, mercy, and kindness to people around us.

Until we do that, I’m not sure it will matter to God [or to Jesus] how many hours we waste singing ‘I Could Sing of Your Love Forever’, especially if we’re not also spending as much [or even more] time showing love and mercy to other people.

The first question in the ‘Westminster Shorter Catechism’ is ‘What is the chief end of man?’ and the answer given is, ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.’

‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39) Let’s glorify God by our worship and by the way we love our neighbours as ourselves.

A Reminder

This coming Sunday, 16th October 2022 at 2.30pm we are having a Hymn Fest to celebrate the International Day of Older Persons.

… in the meantime, blessed be.

Rev Swee Ann Koh

[1] The Greek term for “church” is ekklesia (found 114 times in the New Testament). In the New Testament context, the word is employed in four senses:

  1. It represents the body of Christ worldwide, over which the Lord functions as head (Mt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22; 1 Tim. 3:15).
  2. The expression can refer to God’s people in a given region (Acts 9:31, ASV, ESV).
  3. Frequently, it depicted a local congregation of Christians (1 Cor. 1:2; Rev. 1:11).
  4. It could also signify a group of the Lord’s people assembled for worship (1 Cor. 14:34-35).