People worship everything: animals and athletes, architecture and herbage, gods and gigabytes. Tozer wrote, "There is not a tribe in all the world that does not have some kind of religion and some form of worship. Men and women have an instinct toward worship."
In the spirit of worship, I encouraged folks from my church to attend the opening night of the county fair. As part of the free family night, a community worship service was scheduled. I could not attend; I was busy serving ice cream from one of many concession stands.
If offerings and attendance are a fair indicator of worship, I would suggest that The Church of the One-Dollar Milkshakes lambasted the Community Praise Tent. People race to the ice cream booth, itching to get to the front, laying their cash down, and opening their mouths wide for
the solid milk of indulgence in a sixteen-ounce cup. Fair attendees love ice cream. Boys buy large chocolate shakes. Girls get vanilla. Moms and Dads buy separate swirls that they do not share. Everyone walks away from the Church of the One-Dollar Milkshake with a smile.
Folks from my church left the Community Praise Tent early. Ice cream is often more compelling than song. Choruses are less appealing where Elephant Ears, Blooming Onions, and Pork Bar-B-Q are available. Then again, the right diet is an act of worship--the Catholic and Jewish faith figured this out long ago. And for some, ice cream is worship, too.
'What is worship?' is the wrong question. Everyone worships something; some worship everything. The better question is: 'What is acceptable worship?'
Worship requires the proper alignment of object, form, and disposition. Raised hands and a humble heart are worthless if the object of adoration is a 4-H sow. Not much better is the prayer to the Heavenly Father from a bitter and grudge-holding son.
Thus worship is tricky business--three elements properly ordered toward the Three-Person God. Jesus answers the question: worship aligns God, spirit and truth (John 4:24). Simple to state, but tricky to maintain. Unfortunately, too often worship is simply business... and ice cream tastes better.