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27 March 2010

preparing our hearts?

I sometimes consider the idea that solos and corporately-sung music of worship and praise in a meeting of Christ-followers have the primary function of preparing our hearts to hear the Word. I've heard this stated and repeated moderately often over the years as I've led music in Church meetings.

I'm not sure I find any Biblical support for it.

Surely this isn't a bad idea, though, is it? I mean, anything that focuses us on Christ is automatically good (or has seriously good elements). And Biblically, we read about David playing his harp for Saul, and as a result evil spirits stopped persecuting Saul. Remember, however, that David played music for a specific purpose -- to calm Saul down. It was not corporate worship time.

But doesn't this view of corporate singing take something intended for God and transform it into a self-serving vehicle? Rather than being able to say, "Here we are, Lord. We're not here for any benefit to us, but for Yours alone," we give oursleves a platform by which to judge whether or not that day's music at an acceptable level. Acceptable to whom? Well, us/me, of course! It's got to prepare my heart. If the scheduled order of service gets us to the sermon time and I'm not ready to hear the Word, then something was obviously amiss during the "worship set." This perspective transforms potential corporate worship into a highly individualized feeling.

To be sure, if the drums or bass or guitar are punishingly loud, it's probably going to squelch any potential the music has for a beneficial purpose. Similarly, if we always sing only songs that are generic and could be sung to a person of the opposite sex and still "work" (which is how modern Christian music is often unfairly painted with a broad brush), we're missing the point, as well.

Worshipping God absolutely prepares us to hear from the Lord -- I will not argue against that -- and He often speaks to us in the middle of our expressions of worship. I would argue that this is a side benefit to God's people rather than something that should be a goal.

What's your reason(s) for participating in singing with the Church?


David said...

I would totally agree with you - the preparation of our hearts is a function of us becoming focussed on God through worship (whatever the format of expression), and is not a goal in and of itself.

Dean Lusk said...

See?! It's not just we Americans who have thoughts that are contrary to popular opinion! :-)

Thanks, David.

Preston N said...

The thing is the modern day church has somehow separated worship and has strangely turned it into an entity or a component, whereby we have now gotten to the point where we feel we need to teach people how to worship. In other words we have turned worship into another "formula" whereby if we do "A" we will get "B". The thing is does God really work this way and secondly is worship something we need to teach - or is worship something that we do instinctively or as part of our huamnity? Let's face it I have seen sinners worship something other than God a whole lot better than some Christians who claim to be worshipping God.

It seems to me this seems a bit contrary to how God has made us. Worship is not something that we teach - if this is true, then theoretically we could then "teach" sinners in how to properly worship God. For me it is a matter of the heart and if we are in a relationship with Christ, we will not need to be "pumped" up so we can love God. This is like telling your wife that she needs to put on make-up and a nice dress in order for you to love her. I know if that was me and I heard this I would be offended and hurt -but maybe God is hurt and offended by this as well.

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