Ever since The Worshiping Songwriter began there has been a debate about whether it should be “worshiping” or “worshipping”. Some people, who I greatly appreciate, are passionate about keeping my grammar and spelling in line with acceptable conventions. The Lord knows that I give them enough material to correct but in this instance I take my stand.
At the time of registering the domain, dictionary.com lists worshiping as the primary, American spelling while “worshipping” is labeled as “especially British”. The entry is pasted below.
“verb (used with object), wor·shiped, wor·ship·ing or (especially British) wor·shipped,wor·ship·ping.
to render religious reverence and homage to. to feel an adoring reverence or regard for (any person or thing).”
So as a proud American I eagerly embrace single P worshiping.
Now whether worshiping is spelled with one or two Ps is a small matter compared with the text that comes underneath. How we define worship says a lot about who we are and a lot about who/what we worship. One thing I do not like about Dictionary.com’s definition is it places the act of worship solely on the worshiper. In this definition, worship occurs when the worshiper gives something or feels something. There is no mention of the object being worshiped.
This leads me to the question “Is it worship if what we do is unacceptable?”
Consider the book of Malachi where the priests in Judah put defiled offerings on the Lord’s altar (Malachi 1:7). How does God respond? Well, He says to Judah “with such an offering on your part, will He receive any of you kindly?” (Malachi 1:9). At this point, I think it is safe to say that God does not feel worshiped even if the priests feel like they are worshiping through their religious reverence. Now if God does not feel worshiped is it really worshiping?
This is a question that hovers over my shoulder when it comes to writing songs. The book of Malachi makes it clear that God does not just want a religious ritual. Instead He wants lives that are transformed by His grace. With that being the case, I strive to write songs that both exhibit and encourage this transformation. My prayer is that these songs help us, the church, live out the type of life that God desires so that we may worship Him in the way that He desires to be worshiped (that is, in Spirit and in Truth).
May our worship be not only a feeling of awe or reverence for our gracious and holy God but may it also be pleasing to Him. May we worship because we are so filled with the Spirit that we cannot help but praise God and all that He has done.