What if work *WAS* worship?

by Demi Prentiss

The musical Rent helps us know the math: “Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes…. How do you measure … a year?”

Live.Love.Life – WordPress.com

How do you spend your year’s minutes?

  • Well, there’s work. Fifty weeks x 40 hours a week = 2,000 hours = 120,000 minutes.
  • Not to mention sleep. Fifty weeks x 7 days x 7.5 hours = 157,500
  • Just those two commitments eat up 277,500 minutes – more than half our year – leaving slightly more than 248,000 minutes – a bit over 4,100 hours.
  • And of course, there’s eating, and commuting, and personal time. . . .

Not too long ago, most faithful worship attenders spent an hour a week in worship – 3,000 minutes annually, leaving out two weeks for vacation. Not much time, in the scheme of things. And that’s if you’re attending worship every blessed week.

What if those 3,000 minutes – barely more than one half of one percent of our yearly minutes – expanded to fill much of our waking life? What if all of life was worship? What if worship became, for us, like breathing – something we do all the time, that becomes the very basis of our lives?

Philosopher and theologian James K.A. Smith has said, “If all of life is going to be worship, then the sanctuary [or the nave] is the place we learn how.”  

Imagine what life might be if, when we attended worship, the people at the front of the room were not called “worship leaders,” and instead were “worship starters,” as Fuller Theological Seminary professor Matthew Kaemingk calls them.  

Kaemingk and scholar Cory B. Willson became “convinced that theologies of work need to be practiced, embedded, and embodied in communities of worship.…The fabric of faith and work needs to be slowly and intentionally woven back together over a lifetime of prayer and worship.”

Their book Work and Worship – Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy was the result.  In an interview about their book Willson says, “We hope our book will help pastors and worship leaders see themselves as servants to the priesthood of all believers. Their primary role in worship is to equip and empower believers to live out their priesthood at the front edge of God’s mission in the world: the workplace.” 

What if all the minutes of our lives – not just the ones spent inside the church walls – became an expression of our love for God and all that God has made?

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