(I’ve been told that using that title for this post would drive up traffic. Lol. I replied that I was more concerned not to lay a stumbling block, than to generate traffic.)
We are discussing “Worship” here. Such a powerful word. So critical… to God, to us, to our relationships with Him and with one another…
Ah, Gentle Reader, feel free to chuckle at me, if you will…
I have tried now, three times, to type this post “my own way”. The first time, well along the way, the Lord trashed it. I went to “Save Draft” and got that annoying message: “Something went wrong here, do you want to retry?” And when I retried, I’d lost everything after the first paragraph. The next two attempts just wouldn’t go anywhere, and I trashed them.
Clearly I’m not supposed to get all “preachy/teachy” here, but rather just set out some little stepping stones, some breadcrumbs towards my Rose Garden, and let you meander on to wherever He leads you. Perhaps that will be the same place as I am, perhaps something entirely different. But that will be between you and Him.
There are two Greek words often translated “worship” in the English New Testament. Both of them appear in this quotation Jesus makes to Satan…
Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” Then the devil *left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him. [Matthew 4:8-11]
The two words, in this text, are translated “worship” and “serve”. The first is the “crouchy-cringy” word. The second is the “reverence through service” word. In Greek they are προσκυνέω (proskyneō) and λατρεύω (latreuō).
Working your way prayerfully down the list of verses that use these words, makes it very clear that Jesus reserves the first to apply to Our Father, and the second is deep in the nature of discipleship to Him.
It’s important to note a thing here… through all this pondering it’s been my singular hitch of discomfort. To be honest, I frequently worship Jesus. I can’t help it, sort of. It’s not a ritualistic plan on my part. It just happens. Know what I mean? I mean, don’t you sometimes just have those… well… those Isaiah 6 kind of moments? I mean you just see Him, feel Him, sense His majesty and the very power of His love, and it just takes the legs out from under you? Well, whether it happens sometimes to you or not, I can assure you… it happens to me.
So… this gave me pause. Is the fact that Jesus never says to DO this, the same as Him saying NOT TO DO it? I have to admit, many MANY of my colleagues work this way! If Jesus didn’t say to do something, or didn’t say it was specifically good… then we are to assume it is bad! (In fact, for some of them, even some things Jesus actually DID, were somehow bad. This reasoning escapes me utterly, but anyway…) So I had to keep looking at Jesus use of proskyneo and see what I could make of it, and the verses that use it.
What I found was this. It seems Jesus reserves His recommendation or encouragement of this kind of worship to the Father alone. HOWEVER, there are various times and occasions when, uncommanded, people spontaneously do this to HIM. He does not object, correct, or condemn them when this happens. But He never solicits it.
A number of examples come to mind. The Man Born Blind, when Jesus reveals Himself to him. Certainly the Galilee mountaintop after His Resurrection, when He meets all the disciples after the women tell them to go there. Sometimes we even see the phrase that someone or other worshiped at His feet.
This reality confused me, as sometimes… at least for myself… sometimes, worship seems to “overtake me” or “overcome me”. I don’t seek after it, it just sort of jumps on me unexpectedly. Know what I mean? And the sensation may indeed be “crouchy”, but not in the least “cringy” or fearful. It’s more like bowing my head that the Lord be able to reach out, lay His hand atop it, and bless me. Reverence? Absolutely! Fear? Not a bit of it!
So, at least for my own spirit and heart (feel free to discard this if the Lord leads yours differently), but it seems as if Jesus is perfectly at peace with the proskyneo worship of Him when it is spontaneous, a reaction to the heart’s leap of wonder at His presence or grace. But He is not looking for this as an ongoing lifestyle.
The worship He seeks as an ongoing lifestyle is the latreuo worship. That’s the “follow Me” worship, the servant one, the walking one. That’s the kind of worship that can go throughout the world, sharing Good News, making followers of the Way, teaching all that He commanded, and healing broken lives. We can’t do any of that from our knees.
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There’s where it all seems to come together for me, Gentle Reader. Three points:
- One: Jesus considers The Father is greater than He, and seems to reserve ultimate worship to God the Father.
- Two: Crouching worship certainly honors God, but it is stationary and motionless, precluding other service and following or serving Jesus in the process.
- Three: Jesus has declared our relationship with Him to be “joint-heir”, brother, co-habitation of the body. He has declared our proper relationship with Him to be Union Itself. That requires level ground, heart-to-heart, eye-to-eye posturing.
On this last point… kneeling down in homage to an enthroned Jesus mounted upon His holy plinth may not be a “wrong” posture or a “bad” posture, but it is a distinctly “separated” posture. Sometimes, in moments of conviction, awe, amazement, wonder… that may well be a “right” posture. But those are “moments”, not the fundamental tenor of the “relationship” with Him. THAT seems to be Jesus’ biggest concern in my spirit on this.
The Lord seemed to sum all this up this way…
“Little Monk, such moments are true, good, and right, yes. But those moments are transitory. I seek intimate presence with My Bride, My people, My brethren under Our Father. People hardly dare conceive of this Identity, let alone enter into it, and I work constantly to try to remove barriers and boundaries between us.
“My words were clear. ‘You in Me, and I in you, and together we in the Father.’ I meant what I said. But a brother and I can only enter the same space at the same time through the most intimate ‘hug’. And that has to be face-to-face, not face-to-toes. No one can enter into Me through My feet. Can’t be done! It’s eye to eye or not at all.
“So, feel free to bow or kneel when you must or you feel so moved. But remember, the relationship I WANT… the one I came to make possible and establish… is person-to-person, face-to-face, eye-to-eye. This is how I most seek My followers to worship Me, and then together, we will worship the Father as we enter into Him, speak His words, and do His works.”
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Yes, I think that about sums it up. Thank you for being here, Gentle Reader. Feel free to comment, disagree, agree… ponder… whatever! Grace to thee — The Little Monk