There are plenty of books, even plenty more articles on the topic—great men and women of God who have packaged and unpackaged the goods, and true enough, our world has become a better universe as a result. Still I wonder if there is yet more to discover. Well, I’ve given myself permission to explore, which may yield results against the grain, and that I understand. And as for grains… Aren’t they meant to be struck at the threshold anyway?
I’ve heard it said of worship to be “worthship”. I still remember the very moment I heard it called so. Sure, I can’t recall whether it was on a clammy summer night, or throughout a holidays-snowballed event. Or even the speaker’s name. But I still remember how I felt when he told the crowd that worship was really, worth-ship. I can’t recall what he said afterwards, or even what the whole message was like, but I can tell you, it was as if my soul was a telescope that suddenly focused, transfixed, on that delicate yet mysterious planet of a word—with such boundless oceans and endless skies…—called Worthship. Mysterious? Sure. The word isn’t even in the dictionary.
But apparently it’s in God’s.
And that night God saw it fit that it would make its home in mine as well, not just to grace the humble abode on occasions. It was there to stay.
What is Worthship?
Myself included, plenty of awesome and not so awesome people (depending on your favorite flavor of ice cream—I still love you though) have asked me that. I grew up in a Christian home. I know very well how blessed I am to be born into a family, not a perfect one, but nonetheless one who modeled for me lives that put God first before anything else. My Opa met Jesus, literally, on a fateful day and in my weird, alienesque world (pat me on the back—I just invented a word) the day comes close to having legendary status. And I’ll tell you why.
Our ancestors were a fierce and violent people who worshiped trees, animals, mountains, spirits and gods, and would pass on shamanistic birthrights to their sons. Not all but some of our ancestors. And some of them were blue-eyed, freakishly tall people who hailed from foreign lands, across vast oceans, to conquer, even ravage, the lands of our Mongolian-Indonesian ancestors and make them slaves. So essentially my ancestors were demon-worshipers and slave-masters. Talk about craa-capital A-zzy.
So if I told you that I grew up in a Christian home it is because my precious Opa, my precious grandfather, found favor in God’s eyes and it is NOT because of what he’s done—shucks, his granddaddies were married to demons! And whatever Christianity and its Gospels exposed to him in that time was mixed with syncretistic doctrines (that is, the doctrines of demons). Oh, did I mention my precious daddy too? Yes, that one was a Satanist. And one day we’ll get all up in my old business but back to my Opa.
Even more violent and brutal than the Dutch slave-masters, Opa was an infantry lieutenant who proudly fought for the enslaving Dutch, while the very same blood of slaves was pumping in his heart! Until the Japanese savagely ended the Dutch three hundred and fifty year colonization and threw my Opa in the cans soon to rot with dead dreams and carcasses… But it was there that he met Jesus. And boy, Jesus was literally shining in His glory. What would a dead-man-walking in the war torn prisons to do?
He was dead-man-walking no longer. He became a man-a-falling as if dead instead.
My grandfather received Jesus, resurrected to life and became new. Ever since then our bloodlines were transformed. His pivotal decision to follow Jesus without looking back marked his children, even his children’s children, and turned us to Christ to respond to Him for ourselves. It influenced my own journey to know God and to that I have no doubt. All his children became preachers of the Gospel, and near all of his grandchildren too. Isaiah 54:13 says, “All your children shall be taught by the Lord and great shall be the peace of your children.” That is true of our family, down to the youngest.
All because of God’s decision to love a sinner, which caused him to decide to love Him in return.
No longer do I carry the blood of my demon-worshipping and slave-mastering crazies in my veins, but the pure, untainted, holy blood of Jesus Christ. Because, by God’s grace, I too made the decision to love this loving God in return.
So if I told you that Worthship is snug and at home in my heart, it is because I know where I came from. And now the very reason that I breathe, which I won’t exist without, is to give my Worthship to a holy God who destroyed my bound-for-hell destiny in the crushing, bruising, culminating in the death of His only begotten, sinless, perfect Son… only to give me His. Only to give me His destiny... a destiny made possible for me by the one and only Risen Savior. God alone became the ultimate Worth in my life, and to whom I give my Worthship to. In other words, to worship Him I live. In other words, I will love Him with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength. Have I mastered it? Certainly not! Do I find myself trying to run away from it at times? Yes! But one thing I know that the only reason, the ONLY reason, that I can love him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength is because He has loved me first.
It is IMPOSSIBLE for me to give Him true Worthship without first receiving His love.
Therefore Worthship is a constant reality. Not just in February, or December, or when your favorite football team won the Super bowl, or when you scored that promotion at work, or when your fridge is stock full with food, or—this is a biggie—only when you feel like giving it…
No, but a reality unfailingly constant because God’s love is a constant and unfailing reality—originating, interweaving, founding, abounding, all encompassing, transcending, inside and outside space and time! My favorite way to describe it is that I can’t describe it. It’s indescribable.
So if you were to ask me what worship—Worthship— is… Well, I certainly won’t begin with the powerful marriage of lyrics and melodies—though it is, powerful.
I would first ask you if you know what love is.
I can tell you this though, that for me it’s not as mysterious as it was then, yet still rightfully so. After all these years I’m just beginning to taste and see that the Lord is good because He himself is Eternal Love. Boom.
I know what Chocolate, Butter Pecan, Strawberry, and Coffee ice creams taste like. MmMmm… they’re yummy yummy good.
What would Love taste like?
Well, my friends, like I said, I’m just in my beginning of tasting and seeing.
And cause His love don’t come in sample sizes, I won’t stop. I just can’t.
Well, I hope you won’t too. And if you’ve never tried,
What’s stopping you?
WORTHSHIP: A RIDDLE
A riddle I write to help you figure this out
Out this riddle, a help to you, write I—
Down, what comes,
Must go up
And up, what goes,
Must come down,
And so it is with Worthship goes
As it’s so goes, with Water the Wise—
Rises to sky as mist
Yet falls to land as rain
Down comes, it must
As up must it go
And goes with Worthship it is so
This, write I, to help you figure a riddle out,
To help, I write—
This, a riddle, you figure out
Rebecca Ticoalu serves as the director of Wellsprings Creative, the worship creative ministry of Jesus Reigns International and Abundant Grace Christian Church located in NJ. She is the founder of LOVE OUT LOUD, a love movement fighting against slavery and poverty through artistic and creative expressions.