Aaron Denlinger writes:
“We go to church to worship God, and that’s done by giving, not getting.”
Statements to this effect, made regarding the corporate worship of God’s people, abound in Christian literature and Christian conversations. They sound rather convincing. Scripture, after all, assures us that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” And the etymology of our English word “worship”—apparently from an Old English term meaning “to ascribe worth”—lends itself, perhaps, to a view of worship as an act of giving something to God.
In reality such statements—contrary, I’m sure, to the intentions of those who make them—reveal misunderstandings about why we as Christians gather for corporate worship and who is actually present when we do so. Indeed, such statements—taken at face value—could be argued to constitute a wholesale reversal of gains made at the time of the Reformation in our understanding of what worship actually is.