Article 4

Parasol of True Worship: Your Divine Covering

Parasol of True Worship: Your Divine Covering

We’ve explained how the main support system of a parasol, or umbrella, align with the main support system of our godly worship. The tube and handle being representative of the truth of God’s Word, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the ribs representing our attitude, or spirit, of worship. Worship Umbrella 8a Then we explained how the added support of the runner and stretchers represented the need for the Holy Spirit to be apart of our daily worship, especially if our acts of worship were to be fully expanded over our lives. Now we’ll look at the canopy and how it represents our godly acts of worship.

So what is an “act of worship”? Well, let’s begin by looking at the meaning of our two main words, “act” and “worship.” An act can be a law, formal record, or statute. It can also be a formal division of a theatrical performance, play, or opera. Performers, themselves, can be called an “act,” but the definition that applies in this case, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is this:

act (noun) — the doing of a thing: deed // something done voluntarily // a state of real existence rather than possibility // the process of doing: action (caught in the act) // the sum of a person’s actions or effects that serve to create an impression or set an example (a hard act to follow) // a display of affected behavior: pretense // into an undertaking or situation as an active participant.

Worship can be a bit more complex in its explanation, but this is not the first time we have disclosed its definition on this blog site. We originally discussed its meaning in The Joshua Project, and have done so in other posts, as well. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the word “worship” is defined as:

(noun) reverence, homage or honor paid to God // ceremonies or services expressing such reverence; public worship // an utterly devoted admiration for a person; ‘Your (His) worship’ (esp. Br.) a courtesy title used to (or of) certain magistrates, officials, etc.

By defining worship as a noun (person, place, thing, or idea), Merriam-Webster is indicating that the word has physical properties, parameters, substance — belonging.

But the word “worship” can also be defined another way. In the Life Application Study Bible (NIV) the word is defined as, “(verb) to express praise and devotion.” So this definition reveals activity . . . involvement . . . choices being made. Now let’s piece these various definitions together to reveal what an “act of worship” is.

Any time you or I focus our actions, or deeds, towards bringing glory, honor, and reverence to God, then we are participating in an act of worship. Though Philippians chapter two, verses ten and eleven, state that there will come a day when, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” right now our acts of worship are purely voluntary. They allow us to experience the various attributes of God in a very real way, and again, as we have discussed in The Joshua Project and other blogs, when we acknowledge God’s attributes and apply them to our lives, godly worship takes place.

Your acts of worship are a divine covering (canopy) meant to benefit you and to make a way for you to serve others. This enables us to set an example and make a godly impression upon this lost and dying world. Our acts of worship display devotion to our gracious Creator, and they affect our overall behavior; allowing us to become active participants in doting on, and glorifying, the triune God. And we can do this in so many ways, thus the multicolored canopy on our “parasol of true worship.”

Worship 25 We are called to worship God through corporate acts of worship (Hebrews 10:24-25), as well as individual acts of worship. When we gather corporately, we do so to proclaim our love and devotion to God the Father as one vast voice of humanity. We also gather as one spiritual body to honor the head of the Church — God the Son — Jesus Christ. And as we discussed in our previous article, this is made possible by the leading and teaching of the Holy Spirit.

These gatherings are made up of acts such as Bible study, fellowship, giving, greetings of peace, serving, singing, partaking of the Eucharist (a.k.a.: the Lord’s Table), prayer, and testimonials. All of these acts, if presented to God in spirit and truth, are acts of worship. Too often church leaders mistakingly refer to the musical portion of a corporate worship service as the “worship portion” of the liturgy. This is a false representation of what godly worship really is, as true worship is any act presented to God in a devoted and loving manner.

As individuals we can worship God by taking care of our families, friends, homes, and strangers. Yes, this means that no task is too insignificant, menial, or small. Changing a diaper, cleaning toilets, cooking dinner, maintaining your job, mowing the lawn, etc. can all be acts of worship. When we present an action before our Creator in an attitude of spirit and truth, then we can experience worship on a daily basis. Read with me these words from Paul the Apostle, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1)

Again, there are simply countless actions that we can participate in when worshiping God. Too many to list in this post, and several of our main acts of worship lead to other acts of worship. For example, showing love (an attribute of God) leads to serving, and serving leads to limitless opportunities for us to worship God and be an example of God’s love to humanity.

So begin looking for ways to learn about God’s many attributes (Galatians 5:22-23), and begin applying those to your daily life. Avoid thinking of music as your only means to encountering godly worship. As you do these things, you will begin to open up that colorful canopy on your “parasol of true worship,” and experience God in amazing ways. Your worship will not only become genuine — expressing your true devotion to God — but it will lead others to be devoted to Him as well. I’ll leave you with one last thought from Paul the Apostle:

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Parasol of True Worship: Your Divine Covering by J.Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

The Joshua Project by J.Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.


8 thoughts on “Article 4

  1. Jason, as usual, I appreciate the God focus you offer so consistently. While the parasol metaphor doesn’t particularly resonate with me, it provides an avenue to say something fairly extensive!

    I like to distinguish — and I think this distinction is demonstrably both biblical and logical — between direct and indirect worship. I find the “Acts of Worship” list to be a mixture of both. It’s certainly true that anything we do with consciousness of bringing glory to God can become, in essence, an “act of worship.”

    Also, I think that referring to English dictionaries and study Bible notes when attempting to define worship (and other biblical things) can steer us away from the original Greek and into contemporary usage. Sometimes, contemporary usage is off-base (e.g., “service” and “pastor”). (For the word “worship,” I think the particular dictionary used here was fine, actually.) I think the distinction between direct and indirect worship is shown, e.g., in Jesus’ words about the greatest and second commandments. Also, Heb. 13:15-16 shows these two aspects well.

    Romans 12:1-2 is a can of worms! 🙂 The translation quoted here (NIV84, I think) doesn’t do well with the original text in at least two respects — “spiritual” and “worship” are literal mistranslations, although the concepts they connote *might* have been included in the apostolic mind/spirit. Better translations would be “reasonable” or “logical” and “service,” respectively. In this text, as I sit at Paul’s feet and attempt to learn from him as He learned from Jesus, I imagine he would have used “finger quotes” if he delivered this message orally — sort of like this:

    ” . . . and if you offer everything as a sacrifice, it is a New Covenant way to attain to what the priests did in terms of acts of service under the Old . . . and so all this becomes, in a manner of speaking, your indirect “worship.”

    Something like that. Words are best defined in context, and the context of Romans shows such a focus on the Jewish covenant that it seems clear that “service” would refer in some sense to Jewish service. Uses of the word “latreuo” in the Septuagint would be informative here, too.

    At any rate, I certainly find Paul to have been a man of direct worship and indirect worship — both! I want to understand and do worship, and I want to understand and do service, as well. Now, to get all Christian congregations everywhere to stop obscuring what real service is by calling the order of events in an assembly a “service”! Talk about misleading!!

    • Brian, thank you for your well studied thoughts on worship. My metaphor of the parasol/umbrella is all about getting believers to live under the covering of worship. Yes, there is both indirect and direct forms or “acts” of worship, and we should be involved daily in both. I hope that is the point my readers will glean from my articles, especially in this particular one. And — YES — church bodies everywhere must start “minding their words” when talking or teaching about worship and other subjects. Our modern church leaders (I have caught myself doing the same) tend to get a bit lazy when speaking of such topics as liturgy and worship.

      As always, my Brother-in-Christ, I appreciate your stopping by and your comments. You certainly help me to maintain a godly focus, and to improve how I communicate the thoughts that God has laid upon my heart. Iron does sharpen iron. 🙂

      • Thanks for your gracious replies. Here’s to eradicating laziness in terminology and in practice, right?!

        I agree that both service (indirect, glorifying God) and worship (direct, proskuneo) *ought* to be daily. (That doesn’t mean I personally succeed — far from it.) And from your other reply: I completely agree that if we try to confine worship to Sunday gatherings, we are the poorer, and I doubt God is pleased. Personally, I have a bit of baggage with the phrase “act of worship,” but that’s my issue, not yours. This post may shed light on why I prefer to label non-*proskuneo *activities as something other than “worship.”

      • Once again, Brian, I so appreciate your thoughts. I noticed that you separate indirect actions that glorify God out from under the word “worship,” which you seem to only connect with direct actions that glorify God. To me, based on my studies and experiences, these are all worshipful acts and should remain a part of the whole idea of worship (a.k.a: glorifying God). We can teach them to believers as being direct or indirect godly actions, but as a whole they are both actions that bring forth worship. For example: you list some actions in your article Acts of Worship, and split out from those various actions what can be directly worshipful about them and what can be indirectly connected to worship. Yet (from my understanding) God is glorified through either action, therefore worship has transpired. And though I may not understand your issue with the phrase “act, or acts, of worship,” I feel the phrase to be necessary as it indicates our need to be actively engaged in worshiping God in all that we do each day of the week. Whether directly or indirectly — whether corporately or individually — it’s all, again, worship if our hearts are pursuing this godly purpose in “spirit and truth.”

      • Jason, I think you have put this very clearly here. Underlying what each person does with words and concepts is that person’s a) set of experiences and b) perceptions of those experiences. My path has led me to feel the need to differentiate between those — partly because the biblical words distinguish, but more, because a subset of people in my experience have felt the need to devalue the public assembly and the proskuneo that is associated with it. This group of people has been “browbeaten” and guilted through the years, and all that has led to their feeling less investment and value in gatherings. As a result, for some of them, washing the dishes is more glorifying to God than saying, “I love You, my gracious Lord” to Him. Washing the dishes can indeed glorify Him, but my particular experiences and insights have led me to see the need to emphasize the *proskuneo *and differentiate it from the *latreuo *and other things we do as part of sincere Christian live lived under God.

        So, I think I know what you’re saying in your last sentence there, but not everything is worship in the pure sense of *proskuneo. *Only worship is worship, and service to others is service, and all of it adds up to glory for God if one or more of us perceives it that way, which I hope we do!

      • I see your point, and I certainly don’t wish to deemphasize the necessity for the believer to dote and love on our Creator (both corporately and individually). My reason for including our indirect worship is to help lift the everyday mundane life into a state of abundance, for if we serve others as we are commanded then our chores, work, and other seemingly menial tasks are elevated to a more substantial purpose. A purpose which brings eternal substance into our lives and glorifies God.

        I’ve appreciated this healthy dialogue, Brian. It will aid my readers in understanding true worship, and has helped me sharpen my thoughts and statements on this all too important subject. Blessings to you, my brother.

    • Glad to allow these thoughts, Brian. Also (to try and clarify further my reason for stressing that everything we as believers do can and should be seen as an act of worship), I’m not meaning to imply that our direct and indirect worship should be taken lightly or present us as somehow disconnected from the realities of this lost and dying world. I am attempting, however, to get the modern believer (especially those of us in the western hemisphere) to understand the depth and weightiness of the word “worship,” so as to move us beyond associating worship with Sunday AM, or the music portion of a Sunday AM liturgy. We must worship our Creator daily, both corporately and individually — directly and indirectly — we are all purposed to be true worshipers.

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