Worship Is Display

What if worship is display? Are you comfortable with that?

In Isaiah 61, with the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD on me, I’ve found Him give me something that defines me. Like a habit does a nun. It’s the garment of praise instead of the spirit of heaviness. Then He calls me an oak of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

That’s when it hits me. Of all the ways I’ve tried to talk about worship, to give words to the expressed relationship, to quantify the mystery of human interaction with Glory, this one really hits it for me. Worship is display.

(are you still trying to figure out the nun reference? Read David Crowder’s book Praise Habit)

See, there are many really good definitions for what worship is, including:

~ Worship is our response to the revelation of God. (@matt_redman)

~ Worship is all I am for all He is. (@thomasgateway)

~ In loving God with our whole person we open our total life to Him: Our hearts – affections, Our minds – attitudes, Our souls – ambition, Our strength – activity. (Myron Augsburger in Faith for a Secular World)

But “Worship is display” in the context of Isaiah 61 blows me away. So let’s unpack it.

The qualifier isn’t that we express, it is that He is glorified. That takes the way we express to a whole new level. If Him being glorified qualifies our expression as worship, everything else gets turned down – what others think, if I enjoyed it, if it makes sense (think Abraham and Isaac). What marks it as worship is that He is glorified…it’s the display of His splendor, that He m v ay be glorified.

It distinguishes us. Like a habit does a nun. One bible commentator says it this way: “By our flourishing condition, we’ll show Him off, show to be His.” There’s something holy, set apart about the worshiping Christian. And a worship leader has a different DNA than a rock star, an “open mic night” artist, or an entertainer.

It’s part of my identity: His planting to display Him, His child to enjoy Him, His servant to worship Him! We are made for display, for radiance, for spectacle, for show, for manifestation, for demonstration, for exhibition, for marvel, for…display! Let’s revel in that. We are a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. Worship is display and He planted us for it.

And, as a bonus, we’re given a garment, a covering, a mantle, clothing…to wear: it’s praise! Interestingly, the word “praise” that’s used here means to sing. See there’s great power to overcome heaviness when we open our mouth and praise in song. I was recently hanging out with my kids and just started singing a silly little song that said something like “Hooray, Jesus is with us and we praise Him…” or something. I suddenly felt this heaviness lift off me that I hadn’t even realized was on me! So maybe it’s time to sing.