We’ve been talking this summer about what “worship is…,” to borrow an idea from Charles Schulz.  This is week six and you can catch up on the series here.

Worship is physical.

Following up from last week’s topic (Worship Is Emotional), I want to address another often neglected aspect of worship.

Worship is physical.

A few months back, Kerri Roberts, one of our Assistant Directors of Music, wrote about some of the Hebrew and Greek words behind worship in the Bible and what they implied for us in practice. You can read her posts here (2/26), here (3/5), here (3/12), here (3/19), here (3/26), and here (4/2).

Notably, one of the most prominent words used was the Hebrew “shachah”, which literally means to bow down or prostrate oneself. Kerri writes:

In Hebrew, shachah (Strong’s H7812), which occurs 220 times in the Old Testament, is defined as “to depress, i.e. prostrate (especially reflexive, in homage to royalty or God).” This word is also translated in the Authorized Version as “bow down, crouch, fall down, humbly beseech, do obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.”…

Psalm 95:6-7 says:

6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.

How often do we kneel, literally bowing before the Lord? We don’t see this too often, at least in church, but we come to “worship” together every week for 50+ Sundays a year. Now, I’m not saying that if we don’t fall down on our face every week, we are not worshiping. I’m saying that if we never change our posture in worship toward God, we are missing out on so much of what it means to truly worship Him.

Here are a few other verses that mention physical acts of worship:

Psalm 63:1
So I will bless thee as long as I live; I will  lift up my hands in Thy name.

1 Chronicles 16:29-30
29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come before him!
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
30 tremble before him, all the earth;
yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.

Psalm 100:1-2
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

So we see from just a few verses that worship includes shouting, lifting up our hands, trembling, kneeling, and singing (yes, singing is physical!). If the picture of worship we get from scripture includes such a variety of physical postures and all we ever do is stand and sing (or stand and speak), what are we missing?

I submit that we may be missing the full expression of worship that God is worthy of and intends for us to experience. Are we missing out on learning humility, surrender, adoration, and devotion through physical gesture? Are we missing the connection of our mind and heart with our body, fully created by and belonging to God? Are we missing freedom? Are we missing Him? And I’m not pointing any fingers! I miss Him all the time.

Don’t miss Him! Remember this: worship is always first about the heart. (Go back and read Worship Is Relational.) Our heart matters first, but our bodies are an extension of our heart and built to be used in expressing worship to our worthy God. First, reach up to worship Him with your heart. Then, allow your heart the freedom to engage physically as you express that worship the way God said you could.

Jeremy Buzzard, Director of Music Ministries


Check out the songs we’ll be singing in Contemporary Worship (11:15am) this week:

NEPC Contemporary Setlist