This is part of the series How Worship Contributes to Resiliency.
Integrating the Whole Person
In worship, God uses every part of us – the mental and the physical, the rational and the non-rational – to do his work in us. Worship affects people in ways that go far beyond the mental processing of the words that are spoken. There is an important connection between the mind and the body, between the spiritual and the physical.
Historically, Christian worship has involved the whole body. We sit, we stand, we kneel and we move to and from the table to receive communion. We speak and we sing. We listen to words and music. We see the symbols of the faith in art and architecture and reflect on them. We touch other human beings as we pass the peace. We smell and taste the bread and wine. In some cases, even the sanctuary itself has a distinctive odor. When I’ve gone back to visit church buildings where I used to worship, just walking in the empty sanctuary revives vivid memories of the time spent in that place.
Worship incorporates many different facets of human existence in one integrated whole. The word “integrate,” here, is the key. The experience of worship is integrative; it puts people back together. As our minds, muscles and senses come together to worship the creator, God himself uses our worship to make us whole.