What is it that is the epitome of human existence? What is the most human thing we could do with ourselves and our time? Where would we find our identity as homines sapientes most concrete, most full, most realized? The answer is: in worship.
If God is That which defines reality; if God is our end, then worship is the most natural, most fundamentally human thing we can do. This is a radical thought, given that we often think of worship as a spiritual, not human, activity.
In the best chapter of one of the best worship books to come out in the last five years, John Jefferson Davis writes:
“The Christian realizes that worship is not just incidental and preparatory to some other activity (such as mission or evangelism), but rather, worship is intrinsic and central to the purpose for which God created the universe and humanity: that we might ‘glorify God and enjoy him forever’ (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q. 1). Worship in the Spirit and in truth is the highest act of a human being, the act in which we are most truly human, and the highest act of the church. At its best, Sunday morning can be the high point and culmination of the believer’s week.”1
There you have it. Especially in our day and age, there are many ideas floating out there about what it means to be human—loving one another, loving the earth, getting in touch with ourselves, living in line with our primal urges and instincts, etc. And while there may be truths to unlock or rediscover in many of these, they can never define what is most fundamentally human about us. The telos of the human race is the worship of the living God.
Furthermore, to take a shot at “lone-ranger Christianity” (which is an oxymoron), that telos is epitomized not in private, personal worship, communion, and intimacy with God, but in public, gathered, corporate worship. It’s very human to worship God. It’s even more human to worship God corporately with other humans. So, if I wanted to make this post’s title even more precise, I’d rename it “Corporate Worship is the Most Human Thing We Do.” Sit on this for a day or two. This is truly a radical thought, and it’s not just radical for non-Christians.
Now that I've read the full blog piece, I love this theological meditation even more. Transcendence in not merely above what is human, but is present and transforming of what is human…so we become human. It says the most human thing to do is to live by faith. Yes, it's a nice way to see in Jesus the recovery of dignity! It's key to what wakes us up to see what undergirds, elevates and sanctifies our routines, pursuits and daily practices of life. Thanks! Evan