On Tuesday night I sat with several friends in a basement. Musicians and worship leaders all, we spent the evening in quiet prayer and song-giving-to-God. Spontaneous prayers emanated as several players picked and keyed. I sat with eyes closed and listened.
I didn't want to leave. It was as if Jesus had walked among us, sat down and picked up a guitar just to be with us. I find my soul yearning for times like this more and more. I'd rather sit with friends in quiet worship than imbibe in entertainment. I'd rather walk in the woods with him, than busy myself with, well, busy-ness.
And do not think I am describing an experience brought on by emotion. Yes emotion was part of it, God evokes our deepest emotions when we draw close to him. It is a by-product of standing in his presence. We fall down as dead like John standing before the Shining One. But what draws me to God, to the worship of God, is God himself.
Worship, Our Omnibus
Worship acts as a vehicle. We close our eyes and at once our imaginations transport us into the presence of God. If we're somehow able to cut through the noise of the morning, the noise of stress and the noise of our own thoughts we can, in our mind's eyes, stand before God.
If we define worship as giving worth to God, then worship can mirror the gospel in that we proclaim God's worth through music and song and we live it daily in acts of service and love. And God is the center of that worth giving.
Think about what you sing to God when you worship him in song. Think about what you do during your day to ascribe glory to him. Why these words and songs? Why these acts?
His Being, Our Center
Because God is true. Truth, as J.I. Packer puts it, “… is the quality of a person[s]” before it is something that can be proved or disproved. Packer, of course, is speaking of God’s qualities. We inherit truth from God because he is truth. Augustine says, “And ‘your law is truth’ (Ps. 118:142) and truth is you (John 14:6).” We receive God's moral stamp of truth when we enter the world and live as ambassadors of his truth, which is rooted in his very being. It's that shard of moral purity stuck in our souls that frustrates us so much. It wars inside of us our whole lives.
Because God is good. When we say God is good we describe his being; "in him we live and move and have our being. The early church apologist Athenagoras says, "Goodness is so much a part of God that, without it, he could not exist." His goodness creates for us a moral origin—it is this perfect morality that pain and suffering shatter against. For no matter how much they rise to conquer us God overwhelms them, causing good to come from even the blackest of circumstances. This is who we worship, our good God.
Because God is beautiful. The concept of beauty vexes even the greatest minds among us. From Aristotle to Aquinas to Lewis, we all of us fall at the feet of the beautiful. Some say beauty demands form first—that we must behold something in order to know beauty exists at all. Others, like C.S. Lewis, remind us that the forms of beauty we behold point to something else, the thing behind the thing. It's not really the thing we desire at all. We see beauty, and we long for God.
His Leaking Brilliance
When we close our eyes and find ourselves transported during our church gatherings to the throne room of God, this is the God we worship. He is altogether true. He is altogether good. He is altogether beautiful.
When we step from the church building and into our everyday, when we begin our day in quiet, then move to serve our friends, our spouse or our co-workers, when we sit down for coffee with one of our friends in order to work through a problem that demands forgiveness, these are our spiritual acts of worship.
This is the God we worship. He is altogether true. He is altogether good. He is altogether beautiful.
And it is this "all of him" that we encounter in the everyday, that constitutes his brilliance (glory). When we center our lives around him, his glory follows. It shapes us and with it, we shape the world.
It's a kind of magic, this worship of ours. Give worth to him today and watch his brilliance grow and compel you toward heaven itself.
 J.I. Packer, Knowing God. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 113.
 Saint Augustine, The Confessions. (Publisher: City, year), p. 61
 “APOLOGISTS,” New Dictionary of Theology, 38.
 For more on the perplexing concept of beauty see: The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis, Rainbows For a Fallen World, Cal Seerveld, The Glory of the Lord, Hans Urs von Balthasar
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Timothy Willard loves to sit with his wife by the bonfire and make up stories about Tom the Backyard-Badger for his three lovely daughters. When he's not carving up the Appalachian Mountains on his Salsa El Mariachi, you can find him busy writing a book, collaborating on a book, or reading a book written by someone dead and gone. Timothy studied beauty in the works of C.S. Lewis under theologian Alister McGrath. The author of five books, including Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society (Zondervan), Timothy is currently finishing The Life-Changing Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019), preparing his doctoral thesis for publication, and trying to find a publisher for his first novel The Tempest and the Bloom. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.