3-D is pretty popular right now. From movies to TV’s to the Queen of England! I’m sure 3D technology will be as accessible as an iPhone and it’s inevitable that churches will someday implement it for worship. It may come through 3D glasses or some other technology. But as new technology makes itself charmingly available to us, let’s make sure that we are shaping the Church, instead of letting technology shape it. Worship is for God…not for us. So if it’s really for God, what does 3-Dimensional worship look like? Well I came across an article a while ago that helped me better understand this concept of 3-Dimensional worship and it gives 3 words.
“Up” is the vertical ‘dimension’ of our worship. It’s a dialogue between God & His Church. Declaring who He is, what He’s done, and what He’s going to do. Revelation and response. In moments of quiet time with the Lord is prayer and mediation. Incorporate moments we include songs about God, prayer, & communion.
“Across” is the horizontal ‘dimension’ of our worship. Our worship is pointed towards God, yes, but there is an element of community and togetherness involved. “Across” moments bring ourselves into the light, whether it’s through times of encouragement, edification, confession, forgiveness, celebration, healing, baptism or simply sharing someone’s story.
“Out” is the action part (dimension) of our worship. This is where we put it all into action and be the Church. These are the moments of compassion, mercy, justice and mission. Sometimes it’s as simple as engaging in someone’s story with no agenda other than loving them. Or doing something for someone and expecting nothing in return. It’s being the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s going to the widows and orphans. This is what makes our worship 3-D! Without the “out” dimension, our worship is 2-dimensional and flat. Sure we declare regularly who God is and what He’s done, and we may get “community” like nobody’s business…but if we don’t do anything about it and love the world around us like Christ calls us to, then we become stale and stagnant. We must be salt and light. Faith without works is dead.
Whitney says, “To worship God in spirit means to worship from the inside out. It means to be sincere in our acts of worship. No matter how spiritual the song…if you aren’t sincere then it isn’t worship, it’s hypocrisy.” The truth part of this comes in worshipping according to Scripture – we worship God how He is revealed in the Bible – in mercy, justice, love, wrath etc.
Consider this analogy:
Suppose on their wedding anniversary a husband brings home a dozen long-stemmed red roses for his wife. When she meets him at the door, he holds out the beautiful red roses, and she says, “They’re beautiful, honey!; Thank you” and gives him a big hug. Then suppose he holds up his hand and says very matter-of-factly, “Oh, don’t mention it; it’s just my duty.”
What will happen? Isn’t the exercise of duty a noble thing? Don’t we honor those we dutifully serve? Not much. Not if there’s no heart in it. Dutiful roses is a contradiction of sorts. If the husband is not moved by the spontaneous affection for his wife as a person, the roses do not honor her. They belittle her. They are a very thin covering for the fact that she doesn’t have that much worth in his eyes to kindle affection. All he would ultimately be able to muster is a calculated expression of marital duty.
The real duty of worship is not the outward duty to say or do the liturgy. It is the inward duty, the command: “Delight yourself in the Lord”! (Psalm 37:4). “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice!” (Psalm 32:11). This honors God, while the empty performance of ritual does not. Whitney tells us that “unless the heart is plugged in, there’s no electricity for worship.”
If the husband took his wife out for the evening on their anniversary and she asks him, “Why do you do this?” the answer that honors her most is “Because nothing makes me happier tonight than to be with you.” If he would’ve have said, “Because it’s my duty” its a dishonor to her. “It’s my joy” is an honor. How should we honor God in worship? By saying, “I’m here because it’s my duty”? Or by saying “I’m here to worship You Lord, because it’s my joy”?
Worship is a discipline to be cultivated. Without discipline our life of worship will be shrill and inconsistent. Worship comes from and ﬂows from a heart full of love and devotion for God. Yet we have to resist the danger of making it an emotional choice – we discipline ourselves to do it – just as we are disciplined in all other relationships in our lives if we want them to remain healthy.
Worship is an end in that it focuses on, and responds to, God. It is a means in that as we worship God we become more like him. To become more like God we have to focus on Him more – see him more. How do we “see” Him? – In creation, (Romans 1:20) – in the Bible, (2 Timothy 3:16) – in Jesus, (John 1:1). It’s clear that we need to know and understand the Bible in order to worship God in truest form.