Why Multicultural Worship?
There are a variety worship styles mentioned in the Bible—singing, playing musical instruments, dancing, lifting hands, kneeling, being still, being loud, even shouting, to name a few. Some seem to be in absolute contrast to others! “Proskuneo,” the original Greek word translated as “worship,” means “to do reverence to” or more sweetly, “to kiss towards.” How do we express our reverence and love to our Lord? Is there a right or wrong way to worship?
People have such different perspectives on what worship is. The many ethnic groups around the world have a variety of ways of expressing worship to God. What constitutes worship for one culture may not at all be considered worship by another culture. Even within a single body of believers, one person may connect with a certain form of worship, while the person sitting (or dancing or kneeling) right next to them may not! We often focus on forms of worship suited to our individual tastes and preferences.
But what kind of worship does God desire? Ephesians 5:10 exhorts us to “try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” He wants us to worship Him “in spirit and in truth.” We are to worship from our hearts and for Who the Bible says He is (John 4:23). He wants us to worship Him “in the splendor of holiness.” His holiness and the holiness He imparts to us through Jesus (Psalm 29:2). And He wants us to worship Him together. Revelation 7:9-10 reveals that in heaven there is “... a great crowd that no one could number ... from every nation, tribe, people, and language” worshipping the Lord.
If such a culturally diverse throng of people worships the Lord as one in heaven, what joy it must bring God when we do the same on earth. In fact, Jesus prayed (and taught His disciples to pray) that God's will would be done “on earth as it is in heaven!” Multicultural worship and unity can be uncomfortable and complicated. But it also can be beautiful, holy, exciting, and possible. It is God's will for people from different cultures to worship together here on earth as it is heaven.
In the next few days, we'll see that multicultural worship is firmly rooted in God's heart. Are you willing to expand your thinking (and perhaps your worship style) to explore this kind of worship?