“To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, and to devote the will to the purpose of God.” —William Temple

Our pastor quoted this a few weeks ago, and it  stuck with me, especially the word quicken.

The word comes from the Old English cwiku “living,” and came to us through the Middle English quik, “lively, alive.” Here are the definitions of quicken from Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, along with some comments from me.

1. Primarily, to make alive; to vivify; to revive or resuscitate, as from death
or an inanimate state. (The holiness of God certainly demonstrates the resuscitation our consciences need.)

2. To make alive in a spiritual sense; to communicate a principle of grace to. (What grace that we can even worship a holy God.)

3. To hasten; to accelerate; as, to quicken motion, speed or flight. (I’m thinking here of how John felt throughout the Revelation. Worship was no do-it-later option, but an instantaneous response as your own sinfulness stands in stark contrast to God’s holiness.)

4. To sharpen; to give keener perception to; to stimulate; to incite; as, to quicken the appetite or taste; to quicken desires. (Lord, whet my appetite for You as I worship. Soften my heart to feel the imprint of your still, small voice on my conscience, my will, my imagination…my soul.)

Funny how none of these definitions–well, except for number three–can be found in Webster’s New World College Dictionary (2006), not even as “archaic.”

Funny how much more significant these meanings are than rapid motion or becoming enlivened.

Dear Lord, quicken our hearts not to drift away from You, not even in our language.



WORD NERD CHALLENGE: Check out the derivation of the word worship…you may even find a blog here about it! So much more than singing and raising your hands!