According to Dictionary.com the origin of our word “worship” comes from combining the Middle English suffix “-ship”, which denotes a condition, character or office, with the noun “worth”, which can mean excellence of character or quality as commanding esteem. Therefore our worship acknowledges the condition of excellence of character which commands our esteem.
Recently I have been led to wonder if our church culture places an imbalanced emphasis on what I am calling the feminine side of worship. It seems to me that a large part of our worship focuses on love and adoration, which certainly is valuable and important. But so too is the far less emphasised aspects of honor, respect, and esteem which resonates more deeply on the masculine side of worship. I call it the masculine side of worship, not because it’s foreign to women any more than love and adoration is foreign to men, but rather because this sort of response is more typically associated as a masculine trait.
Let me illustrate. I help coach a bantam football team. When I see one of my boys really making an effort out there, courageously paying the price and sacrificing himself for the good of the team, where he’s running hard and hitting fiercely and making plays, where he drags himself off the field exhausted until a couple of plays later I tell him we need him out there and he resolutely puts his helmet on and goes out and does it again; when I see that it draws from me a powerful, right from my gut, emotional response of admiration, respect and honor (and usually a very loud yell of encouragement.)
That’s the sort of emphasis I think is under emphasised in our worship. When the horde of men came to Gethsemane looking for Jesus to arrest him and he states “I am he!” with such boldness that it literally causes the lot of them to fall back; when he nobly made the way for his disciples to escape leaving him to face his accusers alone; when he stood up to the most powerful man in the country declaring that Pilate had no power but what had been given him by God; when he refused to give up and die till he knew everything had been accomplished. When we recognize these sorts of actions that’s when worship of admiration and awe, esteem and honor are appropriate.
What courage! What valour! What honor! That is my Jesus! That is my savior! That is my God!