"So, brothers and sisters, because of God's mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service." (Romans 12:1).
The word "worship" brings to the imagination an event, most notably a standard church service. But the biblical notion of worship moves us beyond an event and thrusts us forward to a constant way of life. The worship of God is not only marked by the words we say and hear but is defined by action. One of the sayings of the Desert Fathers, a group of fourth and fifth century Egyptian monks, reflects this sentiment: "Abba James said, 'We do not want words alone, for there are too many words among people today. What we need is action, for that is what we are looking for, not words which do not bear fruit.'"
True worship of God, that which engages God at the level of mind, body, and spirit, results in a new way of engaging with the world. The love of God should yield the love of neighbor.
Our worship of God should transcend what we do when we gather with other believers for the celebration of liturgy, the singing of hymns, the hearing of a sermon, and the praying of prayers. Worship of God should permeate every action undertaken in both our ordinary and extraordinary moments. Our bodies should be a "living sacrifice" offered continually in service to God's purposes for the world.
This type of action includes serving others, placing the welfare of others before our own. It includes advocacy for the oppressed. It involves acting and living in imitation of Christ. We do these things because we worship a God who likewise did these things on our behalf.
Prayer: Loving and merciful God, help me to turn my entire life over to you, so that my actions might bring you joy and help others see you in me. In Jesus' name. Amen.