Few things open up the Bible better than good, old-fashioned brain grease. I highly recommend serious study of the history of Biblical times, as well as training in the two primary languages of the Bible: Hebrew and Greek. It’ll get you thinking in wonderful new ways.
Here’s a quick example: The Greek word for worship is proskuneo, which is a fun term with which to play. Proskuneo, like many Greek words, is a compound word. It is made up of pros, meaning motion towards, and kuohn, which means dog. So worship = motion-towards-dog, where we are the dog approaching our beloved leader, and we have:
John 4:21-22: Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will motion-towards-dog the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You motion-towards-dog what you do not know; we motion-towards-dog what we know…
John 4:24: God is spirit, and those who motion-towards-dog God must motion-towards-dog God in spirit and truth.
As a dog lover, I have no problem with this term. In fact, I find it delightful. I don’t care to have dogs approach me with anger or jealousy, snarling either at me or at some perceived rival for my affection. It frustrates and troubles me when dogs run away from me in fear or disobedience. Likewise, it saddens me when a dog approaches me in an overly submissive manner, tail between the legs and head down, as if it neither trusts me nor has any sense of self-worth.
My dogs approach me with a mixture of love, delight, and respect. My current companion, June the Cocker Spaniel, will meet me at the door, sitting, wagging, and happy to see me, hoping for some time together in play, exploration, or simple presence. If she is outside, she will abruptly stop whatever she is doing and dash and skip down the driveway to meet me. Such behaviors are a joy to me and make it a pleasure to enter the house.
So how should I motion-towards-dog my God? How should I motion-towards-dog at my church? With honesty, trust, devotion and delight. Playfully. Obediently. Lovingly. Openly. Invitingly. Enthusiastically. With tail in full wag.
Can I get a woof?