“To worship God in truth means to worship God with our whole being,” says the pastor of the Church of the Resurrection Online Congregation. This statement fits our understanding of one’s “soul” as the whole of who we authentically are in relationship to God.
Worship is our whole-person response to God’s grace. The Greek word for “grace” is literally “generous act.” So one way to describe grace is as Jesus Christ’s generous act (2 Corinthians 8:9) of godliness, compassion, forgiveness, and self-giving. The United Methodist Book of Resolutions takes it to the bottom line: “Grace is God’s love toward us, God’s free and undeserved gift.”1 So our gratitude and generosity – in fact, our entire way of living – is rooted in worship: our joyful response to God’s generous, multidimensional love.
But here’s the surprise: we become more of our true selves not by focusing on ourselves, but by “[going] beyond ourselves in love.” This is where stewardship of the gospel comes in, as we find ways to show God’s love in acts of care for others. “The more we give of self, the richer we become in soul.”2
Thomas R. Kelly, the Quaker mystic, says that by “living the life of inner prayer, God’s holiness takes hold as a mastering passion of life.” He describes the core of worship as “that amazing center where the soul is at home with God,”3 where all of who we are is gathered up into God’s love.
As you seek ways to enjoy and share your home in God, may you have a worshipful soul!
All Bible quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.
1 – The Book of Resolutions of the United Methodist Church, 2016, p. 733.
2 – Richard Chartres, Anglican Bishop of London, at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
3 – Thomas R. Kelly, “Holy Obedience,” in A Testament of Devotion (1941), p. 67.