What is Worship?
Worship is our response to God.
Our response to both God’s ‘otherness’ and to his ‘immanence’ or ‘closeness’.
A response to God’s otherness: God is so pure, so good, so powerful, so faithful and true. God is inexhaustible, immeasurable and unfailing. We struggle to find the words to describe the vastness and greatness of God. And so when we truly stop to focus on God we cannot help but worship. In worship we, as the famous hymn writer Charles Wesley put it, become ‘lost in wonder love and praise’.
But we don’t only become lost in wonder, love and praise because of the majesty of God but as a response to the extravagant love we have received from God. Our worship is a response to God’s drawing close to us – most literally in His coming in Jesus Christ and the laying down of His own life for us on the cross to which we nailed Him. Our worship is a response to the love we can experience each day from the God who cares deeply about the details of our lives. Our worship is our response to the compassion of God who acts on behalf of the poor and the oppressed, who calls His people to act for justice.
And we express our worship in a range of different ways.
At St Barnabas we gather together for services of worship. During them we offer our response of worship through prayers, through music and song, through movement and gesture. You will see some people sitting or standing still, quietly worshipping. Others might raise or open their hands in worship, signalling to God their desire to give their all. Sometimes people speak words of worship out loud. It’s not so much what happens on the outside but what is happening on the inside when we worship that matters.
Here at St Barnabas our shared worship draws on the Catholic tradition within the Church of England. This means that we find the rhythm of the liturgy helpful. In addition, movement, gesture and symbol enrich and enable our worship. All this is important to us but we believe that it is essential that this is brought to life by God himself through the gift of His Holy Spirit.
And our worship does not end with the ending of the worship service. We pray at the end of the service that might go out to love and to serve God. This too is worship, our adoration of God, lived out in loving service.
William Booth was the founder of the Salvation Army. In worship services he sang with passion and all his heart. Then with his heart full of God’s compassion Booth lived out his worship through a life of serving the poor. He said:
‘I will tell you the secret. God has had all there was of me. There have been men with greater brains than I, men with greater opportunities. But from the day I got the poor of
In his last public address, at the age of 83 and shortly before he died, Booth said:
‘While women weep as they do, I’ll fight, while little children go hungry as they do now, I’ll fight, while men go to prison, in and out, I’ll fight, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight; I’ll fight to the very end.’
Worship is our response to God and true worship changes us as we offer not just our words, not just our actions in Church but our whole lives to God.
- Join us for our regular Sunday services
- 8am Quiet Communion (no music)
- 10am Lively Mass (with youth and children's work)