Our fundamental premise was to treat the worship as directed at the gathered community of LTS, not some hypothetical church. The two worships planned could not be transplanted anywhere else, but directed and speaking specifically to those who fill our pews in Santee Chapel.
To show my modernist leanings, let's take a look at the given definitions thanks to Merriam-Webster.com.
Main Entry: per·for·mance
Date: 15th century
1 a : the execution of an action b : something accomplished : deed, feat
2 : the fulfillment of a claim, promise, or request : implementation
3 a : the action of representing a character in a play b : a public presentation or exhibition
4 a : the ability to perform : efficiency b : the manner in which a mechanism performs
5 : the manner of reacting to stimuli : behavior
6 : the linguistic behavior of an individual : parole; also : the ability to speak a certain language — compare
Main Entry: wor·ship
Pronunciation: \ˈwər-shəp also ˈwȯr-\
Etymology: Middle English worshipe worthiness, respect, reverence paid to a divine being, from Old English weorthscipe worthiness, respect, from weorth worthy, worth + -scipe -ship
Date: before 12th century
1 chiefly British : a person of importance —used as a title for various officials (as magistrates and some mayors)
2 : reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also : an act of expressing such reverence
4 : extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem
My worship teacher Donna Allen stated that worship is "an intentional encounter with the divine." i like that idea, and i'll build off of it.
My definition of worship is "A Social Articulation that is Horizontal and Vertical."
The rationale behind this is the idea of a structured performance bent on generating both thought and feelings. I could do more with this definition like adding a particular structure, but that doesn’t work as there are a varty of worship styles. I could add in a phrase like “A planned Divine/human encounter” which is a really great worship definition, but sometimes worship can be longing for the divine... like in the season of Advent or Lent. Plus it is my assumption about life is to “pray without ceasing” and be in constant conversation with God, and not all of that is planned. I was going to add about people being gathered, but I’ve found that the most profound things happen when I stop and pray on purpose. ‘Two or Three are gathered’ almost guarantees worship, but some of the most profound things happened in private worship.
What I did find was that my definition works for me. It fits with my idea of God. I think that rarely do we see God operating in the present, we usually see God in hindsight. Like Jacob’s words, “God was in this place and I wasn’t aware of it.” Like Exodus 33:23, “…you will see where I just was.” We need to stop and recognize that God was in our midst and is still in our midst. Worship gives us that stop, that articulation, not only to find out what’s going on in our lives, but where God is active and working.
then i see this video by Brian McLaren:
so maybe it's not a performance... per se.. but a "corporate reaching for truth." where a gathered community (Ekklēsía if you will) tries to name a part of their reality. it utilizes elements of performance to try to name what is happening "on the ground" and yet name the transcendent reality.. the meaning as well. Christians try to use the framework of what was presented through the gospels, namely the framework and view of God as presented by Jesus of Nazareth. Like Paul stated in Romans 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Maybe worship could best be defined like this, a testing? Or maybe as Eric Elnes puts it "I regularly meet my God, my neighbor, and myself through “the Jesus of history” or “the Christ of faith”" Check out his post "Who is Jesus For Me?" Could that be a definition?
I am no longer certain of where the line is between worship and performance? Is there one? What are your thoughts?