Worship Should Be...Part 1

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, my pastor Jody has encouraged me to share more of my thoughts regarding worship and because of that I'm trying to be a little more intentional in sharing some thoughts in this space. 

Over the next however many weeks I want to break down a few defining points of what worship should be. These points come from a tremendous resource called The Worship Sourcebook. I recommend it as a great resource even for contemporary worship leaders. I'm using some of their points that they put at the beginning to help give form to understanding worship. 

I'm looking specifically at our corporate gathering and not so much on the personal aspect of worship in our homes as families and individuals. With that said...

First is that Christian Worship Should Be BIBLICAL

I heard a story of how coach John Wooden would begin each year teaching how to properly put on socks and shoes. It is in something as simple and basic as putting on shoes or declaring that worship should be biblical that sets the trajectory for the rest of the discussion and understanding of worship. 

 Photo by  James Motter  on  Unsplash

Photo by James Motter on Unsplash

It is precisely this "simple" truth that when lost can bring down everything. There are many places in the Bible that when worship goes bad, everything goes bad. 

The Scriptures is where we grow in our knowledge of God and his character and of the world's redemption in Christ. Therefore, the Scripture should be present in our worship gatherings. 

With the Bible being the foundation, we should seek to joyfully follow the commands regarding worship and intentionally avoid the practices that the Bible calls false or improper worship. This is why I'm bothered when people say they don't sing or show any expression during a gathering. I especially hear that from men. What is funny is that those same men do not approach the shank on the golf course or the blowout loss of their favorite team with a lack of emotion (I'm trying to avoid jumping on a soapbox that will lengthen this post). 

It is so important for us to know the Bible and what it says regarding worship. It is important that our songs and sermons our filled with Scripture. There is a foundation to what we do on Sunday mornings and it is not our preferences. My encouragement and challenge my CUMC family is to examine the songs that we sing on a Sunday to make sure they line up with Scripture. Don't mindlessly go through the motions on a Sunday morning. 

For worship leaders, I cannot stress enough your need to crave the Scriptures. Drink deep in the waters of the Word. Let the Scriptures help structure the services you plan. 

This post is meant to just be a conversation starter. So leave a comment, share with friends, spend time this week examining some passages regarding worship. Perhaps this coming Sunday practice some of what you read and sing out, lift your hands, bow down, or maybe even shout to God in a voice of triumph

Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Colossians 3:16

We Get to Sing

 Photo by  Jason Rosewell  on  Unsplash

There are a number of places in the Scriptures that command singing to the Lord. Singing, I believe, is actually a natural response to deep emotions (good and bad). 

Sing praise to our God, sing praise; sing praise to our King, sing praise! - Psalm 47:6

I will sing of your strength and will joyfully proclaim your faithful love in the morning - Psalm 59:16

Sing about the glory of his name; make his name glorious - Psalm 66:2

There are also a lot of articles about why people don't sing in church anymore that specifically aim at the contemporary scene in churches today. There was an article written recently that Jody and Rick invited a response from me on that very subject. Perhaps I'll share that here one day. 

Today I just want to throw out a simple reminder. 

Before the Reformation, laypersons were not allowed to sing in church. They were expected to stand mute as sacred music was performed by professionals (priests and cantors), played on complex instruments, and sung in an obscure language.

Some of you may read that and wish it was still the same. You are missing the joy and privilege that we now possess.

I'm not here to talk about how we may be headed back in that direction, but instead remind you of the gift that we have regarding singing. We get to come together on Sunday morning (and as families in our homes) and sing songs to the Lord. We raise our voices in shouts of joy and pain. One of the great gifts of the Reformation was the gift of congregational singing.

I'm not trying to guilt you into singing on Sunday mornings. My goal was to just provide a moment of pause and reflection for you to consider that the privilege of singing as we gather together hasn't always existed.

Yes God CALLS us to sing, but thanks to the work of God through history we also GET to sing.