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HOMAGE, PART 2

Man is a homing pigeon whose undistracted heart automatically turns heavenward. Anthropologists tell us that by coming to a worship service we join the ageless pursuit of our entire species. Augustine of Hippo (354430) was right when he prayed, "You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." Paul Murphy observed that man is "incurably religious ... the Bible, therefore, never commands man to worship but tells him how and what to worship."' Man has always felt the upward pull. "If not religious, he will be superstitious. If he worships not the true God, he will have idols."2 We will worshipthe variable is what we worship. The ancient Egyptians worshipped everything from bulls to bugs (scarabs). The Greeks bowed to marble gods and goddesses. American Indians had totem poles. The other Indians still worship sacred cows (while many of their people starve). More "sophisticated" modem people worship sports,' success, money, the human body, and pleasure. Christians worship their Creator and Savior (Psa. 42: 1).

When the wise men who came to see baby Jesus said, "...we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him" (2:2), they used a word (proskuneo) that means to "prostrate oneself in homage. A W. E. Vine says that it "is the most frequent word rendered for worship" (61 occurrences).

WHAT IS WORSHIP? HOMAGE.

Homage involves "pointing a finger" at  God (honoring).   Thoughperhaps misguided, some athletes point heavenward after scoring a touchdown or hitting a homerun as if to say, "Give God the glory ... He is the One who gave me the talent and makes all things possible." Worship has an element of "finger pointing." David said, "We must declare among the people His doing" (Psalm 9:11). Worship shines the spotlight on God. It is as if every person in attendance is pointing his/her index finger heavenward, saying, "He deserves the glory." The Psalmist sang, "I will declare thy name unto my brethren in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee" (22:22; cf. Heb. 2:12; 13:15). The English word "worship" originally came from the Anglo-Saxon

What the Lord Saith Unto Me, That Will I Speak, 104 Useable Sermon Outlines. Northport, AL. 2001.

Theodore Parker (1810-1860)

"Sport is America's newest and fastest-growing religion, far outdistancing whatever is in second place," says Charles S. Prebish, associate professor of religious studies at Pennsylvania State University. At is not merely "like" a religion, he argues, nor is it a "secular" religion, as other religion scholars and sociologists have postulated. To Mr. Prebish, sport can and does provide its followers everything that traditional religions have provided over the centuries. Fiewrites: "For me, it is not just  a parallel that is emerging between sport and religion, but rather  complete identity. Sport is religion for growing numbers of Americans, and this is no product of simply facile reasoning or wishful thinking.  Further, for many, sport religion has become a more appropriate expression of personal religiosity than Christianity, Judaism, or any of the traditional religions.  ..." Athletes and spectators for, whom sport is religion may differ in their ideas about what the "ultimate" is, Mr. Prebish says, but sport is the vehicle by which all of  them find it. -- M. Scott Vance, "The Chronicle of Higher Education."  Christianity Today, Vol. 29, no. 18. (See: Ex. 20:4; Dent. 11: 16:  1 Jn.  5:21). 

4. Vine has "to make obeisance, do reverence to ... an act of homage or reverence." H le quotes J. N.  Darby who "renders  the verb 'do homage."'

5.  W. E.  Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, p.  1247. For examples, see: Mt. 4: 10; Jn.  4:21-24; 1 Cor. 14:25; Rev. 4: 10; 5:14; 7:11; 11: 16; 19: 10 (second part), and 22:9.  weorthscipe, from weorth (worthy, honorable), and scipe (ship), developing later into "worship" (attributing worth to a thing or person). Honoring God is an important element in worship: "Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious" (Psa. 66:2; cf. I Chron. 16:27). "Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day... I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works" (Psa. 71:8; 145:5). "Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase" (Prov. 3:8). 

Homage involves "bending the knee" before God (reverence). God deserves worship; it is His "due." "Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness" (I Chron. 16:29). Since it is God's "due," it is our "duty." Worship is the responsibility of saved people. We do not deserve any pats on the back for attending all the church assemblies, we have simply "done that which was our duty to do" (Lk. 17: 10). Duty is a word that has fallen into disgrace in modem usage, but it is still one of the best words in the English language. Men have served their country out of duty; workers have built great companies by performing their duties; husbands and wives have worked through lean times to save their families by fulfilling their marital duties.

It is our duty because of our relationship to God (Heb. 5: 3, 9).   The right side of the doorpost to many Jewish homes bears a little case inscribed with the houses two paragraphs from Deuteronomy: 6:4-9 and 11: 13-32.

1.  This reminds them that Almighty God is Head of the house and that it is their duty to serve Him. We are not Jews, but we could learn from this practice. 

Some seem to have the impression that they do God a favor by showing up once in while for worship. Worship is not doing God a favor; it is doing us a favor. To be spiritually healthy, we need to pay homage. Because the Corinthians failed to worship correctly, they were told, "For-this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep" (cf. I Cor.,  11:30). George Eliot wrote, "The first condition of human goodness is something to love; the second is something to worship." A tree must receive water to live; but to grow, it must also release water. Daily it takes in gallons through its roots and gives away gallons through its leaves. If a tree should stop giving, it would soon stop living. So it is the soul-we receive from God; we must give back to God (cf. Psalm 1:3).

At a meeting of the Board of Overseers of Harvard College a proposition was made to absolve the students from daily attendance at Chapel. After a number of younger men had argued in its favor, Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke, "Religious worship is the most important single function of the life of any people. I derived more benefit from the Chapel service when I was in College than from any, perhaps from all, other exercises which I attended. When I am in Europe I go on every occasion to join in the religious service of the people of the town in which I am. For this reason I should be sorry to see the  attendance at Chapel made to vary with the wishes at the moment of the young men." After this no one cared to speak, and as long as he lived, compulsory attendance was maintained.