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The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia


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Our word worship is the modern form of the early English word worthship. And while the word was originally used to denote honor or respect paid to any one worthy of it, it came in time to be used exclusively of the giving of honor to God, of which He above all others is worthy. Thus we have the word applied almost exclusively to what we now call Public Worship. By this is meant the united homage of the members of the Church rendered to God as their Almighty King. And it is to be noted that whilst God accepts the worship of each individual or family, yet He loves more the Public Worship of His Church, for we read in the Book of Psalms, "The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob." While this is very manifest to any careful student of the Bible, yet in these our days there is nothing so misunderstood as the nature and obligation of Public Worship. So much so is this the case it has been declared that Worship is a "Lost Art." This has come to pass, no doubt, from the misapprehension of the purpose of this "assembling of ourselves together." The common idea is that we go to Church to "hear preaching." But preaching is not worship, nor is it the chief purpose of our coming together in the House of God each Lord's Day. We come together to worship, and the true idea of worship is to give, to render homage. Worship is an unselfish offering. It is giving God the praise. It is the grateful homage of grateful creatures to Him who has blessed them and preserved them. Preaching is but an incident of such an assembly gathered for such a purpose, and oftentimes is not really necessary. It is also to be noticed that the Church's true worship is the Holy Communion; all other services are but adjuncts to the one service appointed by our Lord Himself. In the Primitive Church an ordinary Christian would not have considered that he had kept the Lord's Day as a day of worship if he had not attended a celebration of the Holy Communion. When, therefore, our people grasp these Scriptural ideas, then no longer can it be said that worship is a "Lost Art" among the American people. (See HOLY COMMUNION; also RESPONSIVE SERVICE.)

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Bibliography Information
Miller, William James. Entry for 'Worship'. The American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. 1901.

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