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12 December 2007

Finding Worship

In speaking to my friend Bobby, Youth & Children's Pastor at Greenhill FBC (in the teeming metropolis of Greenhill, AL) and also to reader and blogger Preston (fantastic post on December 10, by the way) fairly recently about worship, and I wanted to convey some observations on the subject.

It's important to me that the people at my church fellowship understand that the singing time we have, mostly at the beginning of each service, is neither warm-up time for the people or some other part of the service, nor, in and of itself, "worship." I believe that one positive side-effect of the "traditional vs. contemporary" debate over the past decade or so regarding music has been that people have, for the most part, come to understand that singing in church does not equal worship.

"Worship" (rooted in old English "worth-ship" or "worthiness") is best summed up by what Jesus said: "' must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength,'" and, "'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Mark 12:30-31, NLT) If we do this, we're proving that God is actually worth our lives. If we say we assign value and worth to God and then don't exhibit the fact -- daily -- that He is the top priority, then He's really, truthfully, not worth very much to us.

That essentially shows that "music" and "worship" are not one and the same. (At least, it shows this to be the case unless you disagree with the above paragraph.) For some people the music part of a service is a time to worship, but if church attendance and involvement is any indication -- and sometimes it can be, but sometimes it's not -- many of the people singing in a service on a Sunday morning are probably doing it mostly for their own entertainment.

Of coruse I'm not down on people. I'm simply saying that it's almost impossible to ignore God throughout the week in our daily lives, and then plop down in pews (or theater seats) and suddenly become "worshippers" on Sunday morning. I say "almost impossible" because God can certainly use the music portion of a service to speak to and to change someone's heart. Obviously, His Word spoken from the Scriptures definitely has the power to do that.

Worship God as you conduct your daily business today -- Love the Lord and love those around you. The latter can take a serious act of the will. :)


Bill Fowler said...

My experience in what we call "high chuch" at First Presbyterian (Huntsville, AL) is a traditional liturgical service accented with largely traditional music. Our Music Director selects pieces which draw the scripture readings and sermon together; a punctuation of sorts, but no less important to the whole. I don't know that every church or denomination uses music in this same very direct way, but this (long-standing and deeply rooted) practice alone clearly legitimizes music's role in worship.

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