Lately as I’ve been thinking about worship, both individual worship and communal, corporate worship, I’ve had several epiphanies.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV.
Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 The Message.
I used to think that these verses meant that I had to dress in socially awkward ways to please God, that I had to have a neat and clean and perfect appearance, only have one set of piercings (ear lobe only), never get a tattoo, and people who had tattoos were supposed to be ashamed of them, and dress in approved clothing, being careful of styles and appearances. However, I recently began thinking of these verses in relation to individual, personal worship.
The Bible says elsewhere that God basically handcrafted us (well, that’s my paraphrase of Psalm 139:13-16 at any rate). Things that are handcrafted are unique; no two of them are the same. And that’s how it is with us. What this means is that I am the only me that will ever live. God handcrafted me, I’m authentically me and I’m an original. (I hear you all saying “praise God!” Ha). I am supposed to honor God with my body, and worship him with my body. The way I express this worship is going to be different to how other people express worship. I’m moving beyond the definition of worship as simply being participating in a praise and worship service at church on Sunday. It’s great that I participate and worship in those, but worship is so much more than that.
God is a creative God, and he has bestowed upon the human race many creative expressions with which to worship him. Some worship God by dancing, some by singing, some by playing instruments, some by writing songs, some by writing plays, some by writing novels, some by drawing, some by gardening, etc. God has also given us our own unique tastes and our own unique styles. He’s a creative God, and he’s given us a gift in giving us so many ways of expressing ourselves and making sense of him and ourselves through art and creativity.
Lately I’ve started to feel freer about expressing myself through my fashion style. It’s been difficult because of the rules and regulations that I used to live by about clothing and style. I like a classic, preppy style, but I also love the punk, Gothic style. I used to subscribe to the notion that liking the Gothic style was wrong and that I could not express myself in that way, but have in the past couple of weeks realized that I am a unique creation with unique likes and dislikes and that it is ok to express myself and present myself to God in worship in a style that is authentically me, the me he made me to be.
I’ve realized that I can worship God with one hole in each ear or three. I can worship God with a tattoo, in fact, having a tattoo is art, and that is one of the gifts in which God has given us to express ourselves, and so body art can be an expression of worship. (I know some will disagree with me here, and that’s ok). I recently had a period of a few months where I had bright pink hair, and I found out that that was ok with God. It was an expression of me, the me he had made me to be.
I’m not claiming that one has to have hot pink hair or a bunch of piercings or be covered in tattoos to worship God. On the contrary, I’m saying that I learned that one can have hot pink hair, a bunch of piercings and be covered in tattoos and not only be right with God, but for some of them it could be an act of worship and they might have a very vibrant relationship with God. Which then leads me to the topic of communal, corporate worship…when all kinds of handcrafted by God people gather to worship together, their uniqueness and individuality are an asset to the corporate worship rather than a hindrance.
And for the record, I haven’t gotten either my tattoo or my second lobe and my cartilage piercings yet. :p