What words come to mind when you think about worship? Many of us think of things like music, prayer, church, scripture, and the like. I’d like to thank Worship Leader Magazine for sharing these words that I’m going to introduce to you.
Let’s begin with Alleluia. Most of us are accustomed to this word, and its form appears in scripture only four times, all in Revelation 19:1-6. Verse six in this passage says, “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Within the confines of the passage, this Alleluia is defined as, “Praise ye, Jah!” “Praise the Lord” has become a form of Christianese that gets used for almost anything in daily life. But how often do we boast about God? You need a daily alleluia, a time where you boast about the things that God has done, is doing, and will do in your life and the life of those around you.
Worship is also Hosanna. This is, for most, an Easter word. We hear it and imagine palm branches and see Jesus seated on the back of a donkey. These images are correct, as Hosanna appears in scripture in the telling of Jesus’ ride in to Jerusalem. If you want to check me out, see Matthew 21:9, “And the multitude went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” It’s a word of adoration that is translated, “O save!” Aside from the word’s actual use in the New Testament, you can also find traces in places like Deuteronomy 20:4, “For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” I can imagine that the people waving their palm branches as Jesus passed by approached that day from many different perspectives. Some of them were experiencing great joy, while others were in great pain, yet they all cried out to Jesus, “O save!” When was your last Hosanna?
One of my favorites is Abba (no, not the band). Abba, at times, is often misunderstood. While it reflects a childlike cry of “Daddy,” it is more than just identifying Jesus in that way. To have this word in your vocabulary is to have an intimate, child-father, relationship with Christ. My children refer to me as daddy (they are 5 and 3), but their use of the word is only validated by our relationship. Romans 8:15 says, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” This is a beautiful picture of the relationship Jesus wants to have with us. We have nothing to be afraid of if we have been adopted in to His family. When you read the Word, when you pray, as you sing, think, Abba, Father.
The next worship word is a very familiar one, Amen. Most folks likely use this on a daily basis, but in what application? Amen is translated, “so be it.” In the book of Nehemiah, Ezra reads the scriptures at the completion of the wall and as he blesses God, “the people answer, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground” (Nehemiah 8:6). For many of the people there that day, they were hearing the word of God for the first time. I love the way Worship Leader magazine describes Amen: as an illumination of the work of Christ. Does your daily Amen illuminate Christ’s work or does is simply follow a quick prayer of passage to lunch?
Finally, the last word. Maranatha. I’m going to assume that most of us don’t use this word regularly, but it means, “Our Lord has come.” Its only appearance in scripture is 1 Cor. 16:22, “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema (or cursed) Maranatha.” In short, does your life reflect the coming of the Lord? The end of Philippians 4:5 tells us that “The Lord is at hand.” Living a life of daily worship means that we are looking to the coming of Christ, living our lives in urgency of the gospel story being taught to the world.
I challenge you: use or model these five words on a daily basis for one week. Put them on your fridge, in your phone, on your bible, or somewhere obvious and see what God does with your daily Alleluia, Hosanna, Abba, Amen, because, Maranatha.