What is Worship?
Put simply, worship is seeking God's presence. We seek God's presence in different ways in different places. When we read, think about and discuss the Bible, we are learning about who God is and how God saves us through Jesus. This information is useful for knowing about the God whose presence we are seeking. But seeking God's presence isn't just intellectual. It's existential as well. When we gather with God's people, listen to sermons together, sing songs, say creeds aloud, and share our search for God's presence with other believers we experience a glimpse of God's presence. This is partly social and partly an altered state of consciousness. It's good to be around other believers, and it's good to not just know about God's presence but to also emotionally feel his presence. Knowledge and emotions, like everything else in this world, has a spiritual dimension. If we trust Jesus, we have a spiritual connection to Jesus, we belong to him. This spiritual fact will enliven us and make learning about and experiencing the sensation of God's presence coherent.
Worshipping God varies. The gathered experience will be different to seeking God during ordinary or unpleasant activities. Sometimes seeking God's presence will be formal and ritualised, sometimes it'll be intuitive and only understood later. The purpose of our lives should be to shape them around this search for God's presence. Which means when we sin, we make seeking God's presence more difficult. Worship as the gathered congregation is important because God has created humans as social beings reflecting the relational unity of the three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Despite Adam's sin breaking the world, including relationships, God uses the organised gatherings of his people as a way of bringing us into his presence. Not the only way, but an important one, because of our social nature. This social activity isn't just sociologically useful for following Jesus, it's also spiritually useful for belonging to Jesus. God uses the organized church, as fragile, broken and eccentric as it often is, to help us draw closer into God's presence.