Have you ever wondered why God gave us bodies? What are we supposed to do with them? According to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “…You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Our bodies are important–so important that the only time we’ll be without them is during the period between our death and Christ’s return. We’ll then receive a glorified body that we will have throughout eternity, and that we will continue to use to worship and glorify God. (For example, in Revelation 19 we see the great multitude in heaven crying out, and the elders falling down–both physical acts of worship.)
We’re commanded to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). I take that to mean we are to love him with every fiber of every part of our being–spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical.
As portrayed in Scripture, worship consists (at least in part) of a deeply affected heart-response to God which is in some way physically expressed. I know that worship is much more than physical expressions of joy and praise and adoration, but it’s not less.
A few years ago, Bob Kauflin, who is the Director of Worship Development for Sovereign Grace Ministries, gave careful consideration to this topic in a 5-part series entitled Physical Expressiveness in Worship. It’s well thought out, biblical, practical, and avoids extremes. In Part 1, he wrote the following:
Many of the words that we translate as “worship” in both Greek and Hebrew contain the idea of bodily movement. The two most prominent words – histahawah in the Old Testament, and proskynein in the Greek – connote the idea of bending over at the waist or bowing down as an expression of homage. In addition, physical expression is both commanded and spontaneously modeled in Scripture as a way of giving God glory. (Ex. 12:27; Job 1:20; Ps. 47:1; Ps. 95:6). Those expressions include clapping, singing, bowing, kneeling, lifting hands, shouting, playing instruments, dancing, and standing in awe (Ps. 47:1; Eph. 5:19; Ps. 95:6; Ps. 134:2; Ps. 33:1; Rev. 15:2; Ps. 149:3; Ps. 22:23).
The evidence seems clear. Biblical worship has an inherent physical aspect. And if the Bible both commands and models physical expressions of worship, then we cannot safely ignore or explain them away. May we love the Lord with all our heart and soul and mind and strength.