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You've gone too far!

The writer was seeking to promote a greater reverence of God when he said:

                    But there is no Bible word for worship that means “celebration”

                    or "festivity” or “ceremony” or “ritual.”  None of that is what

   worship is all about, and to make it so is to pervert true

   worship in spirit and truth.

 

While it’s true that the words translated worship in the Scripture usually have reference to a more solemn aspect of homage (such as bowing down), the above statement leaves an incomplete, inaccurate picture. It's like saying that the word for baptize means to

dip, plunge, or immerse, and has nothing to do with joy or celebration. Again, that would be true of the word in a strict, literal sense, but we would also recognize that when someone had been baptized, there was gladness and rejoicing (Acts 8:39; 16:34). In other words, the context in which the word occurs also has to be considered. It’s the difference between what a word denotes (its lexical meaning), and its connotation (things that are associated with the word).
 
Psalm 96 is clearly a psalm of worship (. . . bring an offering and come into His courts. Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness; — v.8-9). Yet there is also to be rejoicing and gladness (v. 11-13). You see this kind of thing throughout the psalms (95:1-7; 98:4-6; 100:1-2). In these (and more), it should be clear that worship involves celebration.
 
Then there was the Feast of Tabernacles. This was marked by a sacred assembly at the beginning and end (Leviticus 23:35-36). They were to Celebrate this as a festival to the LORD” (v. 41). They were to rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days (v. 40). Jesus was in attendance at this feast and it forms the backdrop for His remarkable promise of living water/the Spirit (John 7:37-39). Consult the commentaries for specifics of what went on at this feast and you'll see that Jesus knew the joy of worshiping God! 
 
While we have limited information about Christian assemblies, it's difficult for me to read passages like Ephesians 5:18-20/Colossians 3:15-17 and not see gladness, joy, and celebration in them. And while James 5:13 sounds as if it has to do with situations outside the assembly, the principle of singing praise to God for His blessings is certainly applicable anywhere.  
 
As you can see, celebration has always been an important component of worshiping God (how could it not be?).  To propose that worship/reverence for God excludes celebration is to look at the multi-dimensional world of worship from a single dimension. Our worship together in the assembly is much like a wedding. While something is terribly missing at a wedding if there aren't some solemn moments (when the vows are exchanged, prayers are offered, etc.), it would be just as tragic if such an occasion wasn't also overflowing with joy. In our assemblies there should be quiet moments of solemn reflection, but there should also be celebratory times as well. To try to exclude one from worship because it isn’t like the other, is to narrow worship/reverence unnecessarily and fail to appreciate the way our Father made us.   

In 1 Chronicles 15, the ark was returned to Jerusalem. Because in their previous attempt to return the ark they hadn’t treated the occasion with the proper respect and reverence (1 Chronicles 13:7ff), God’s instructions were followed carefully (15:2-15).  Yet it was also a time of joy, shouting, dancing, and celebrating (v. 16,28-29). Reverence and celebration are not mutually exclusive.

For several years I worked with a congregation whose building was located close to a funeral home.  Whenever we would give directions to someone we would always tell them, If you get to the funeral home you’ve gone too far. The same thing is true for any view of worship that excludes joy and celebration. When we equate worship/reverence with a funeral home atmospherewe’ve gone too far! 
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