7.19.2007

Worship...

This summer I have had several opportunities to talk about worship. I spoke at a camp, at our church, and to our students at our midweek gathering. At each occassion I have used at least one of the speaking opportunities in front of these audiences to talk about worship...Worship is a hot topic these days...Churches split over it. People join churches because of it. New services are started with a new type of it. Some churches and leaders are constantly experimenting and changing it, while others are holding tight to the traditions and practices of days gone by...But what is worship, really? Is it just a style of music, like praise songs or hymns. Does it revolve around who and what provides the leadership, such as a rock band or an organ? Does it have to do with just the music or is it also found in experiential elements of our religious practices and gatherings as well? All seem to be valid questions at various places in the discussion among church-goers these days.

But as I read the Word and as I examine what God meant for worship to be, I think we've mostly missed the boat...Now, I do agree that is it easier for me to experience worship in some settings than in others...And I readily admit that I have preferences when it comes to musical style and other various elements of worship...But isn't worship more than whether we are singing praise songs or hymns? Isn't it about more than what type of music our church plays? I think so...

Do me a favor...Pick up your Bible and before you open it imagine the perfect worship service in your eyes...Go ahead...Do it. Maybe it includes a guitar and drums or maybe it is accapella or just with a piano...Imagine every detail, from your favorite songs, down to the lighting and mood.

Now open up your Bible and read Isaih 1:10-20...Wow. You see, the Israelites, the supposed people of God were in the middle of worship when God reacted this way. The same thing happens to them again in Amos 5:18+. The people are in the middle of their religious services, offering sacrifices and praises to God, performing their worship acts, and God bursts on to the scene and basically says, "Your worship makes me vomit. It is detestable to me and it makes me want to throw up." Why in the world would God respond this way? Well, the Israelites had misunderstood what God desired worship to be. They thought that worship was about their religious acts as they gathered as a group of people and "had church." But they missed the boat..And I think that many of our churches and the people in them are missing the boat today...God was infuriated by their worship because it was simply nothing more than religious ritual. They gathered together and did tricks for God. They thought that going through the motions was what pleased Him...And he responds by calling them out and challenging them to LIVE WORSHIP. You see, worship that God delights in has little to do with the discussion of whether it is led by a band or a choir. Worship that pleases God has nothing to do with whether it is accompanied by an organ or some drums. Worship that glorifies God and brings joy to Him is worship that is a lifestyle. The act of worship that God desires from us is to live a life that is in line with who He has called us to be. Our true acts of worship come from our daily obedience in following Christ, not in what happens at our church buildings on Sunday mornings...Worship is not about style or meeting places or even religion...Worship is about life. A life lived for His kingdom, in the big and small...Paul says it best in Romans 12, when he says offer your bodies to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Him, this is your spiritual act of worship...May we daily be as devoted to God - in the way we spend our talent, time, money, and complete, daily lives - as we claim to be in the songs we sing on Sundays...

6 comments:

skylight said...

Psalm 150

Nic said...

skylight,

Nic said...

skylight,
by posting psalm 150, what are you communicating?

randman said...

Nic,

I agree! We need to get past style to substance.
Worship is a love relationship with the Creator.

skylight said...

...just agreeing along with you, Nic, and adding my two cents worth, too. Psalm 150 to me speaks about worship being pleasing to God in a variety of forms, as long as the praise is true and genuine in the hearts of the people.

Nic said...

skylight,
i think you "hit the nail on the head" so to speak...it is about our worship coming from a geniune and true heart...that's the kind of worshippers Jesus says that the Father seeks in John 4 - those whose worship is in spirit and truth - its authentic.