Worship. It's an old English word. Tug it apart, drop in two letters, and suddenly we see not only what it used to be but also what it continues to mean: "worth-ship," a statement of worth and value, a declaration in word or deed of what matters most to the worshiper.
We worship whatever we fear, love, and trust the most, says Martin Luther, and whatever that may be is our god.
St. Matthew's Gospel opens with some wise men worshiping Jesus. It ends with some other men, not quite so wise, worshiping Jesus too. Then Jesus sends them into the world to teach other people to do the same. Between those two points, the beginning and end, St. Matthew shows us why Jesus is "worth it." So does the rest of the New Testament.
To this day Christian worship begins and ends with Jesus Christ. Through him we know God to be our gracious Father. We also discover that the Holy Spirit, God's power and presence at work in all creation, is working for us with our everlasting salvation as his ultimate goal. The key to knowing and trusting this is Jesus' crucifixion for our sake. That's why the cross is the essential symbol of Christian churches and the central focus of the worship that happens there.
Christians worship in many forms and styles. Lutherans as a rule follow forms that were developed and honed through centuries of Christian faith and practice. Doing so helps to connect us to the Church of every time and every place. It also helps to keep us faithful as we celebrate and share the Gospel, the good news of God in Christ for us and for all people everywhere.
In the end true worship is a confidence expressed in word and deed, song and prayer, that the triune God we meet in Christ—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is the One to fear, love, and trust above all other powers, persons, or treasures. Our worship declares that he alone is God, the One who matters more than anyone or anything. It drives us to remember, honor and praise his wonderful goodness beyond all understanding, and to spend our days with that in mind.