11 September 2013

Bands and worship

Band by bobmendo
Band, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.

I read a blog which both bothered me and with which I mostly agreed. It's here Singing. The thesis is that the music in churches today is unfamiliar and thus people stand and watch/ listen rather than participate.

That may be true. That may be part of the truth. That may not be true at all.

The photo I'm using today in this blog is from Rob Smith's 'performance' at an Anglican church in Sydney a while back. Rob is a friend of mine and a good man on many levels. Even though the crepuscular activity is nice, with purple rays of light beaming, I don't and didn't find them distracting. Even though there was performance, it was not enough that kept me from joining in.

So what's the difference?

David Murrow reckons it's familiarity. Others I speak with comment on the volume at the services. Some have said the words are broken down oddly on screen. (Karaoke is much easier, they say.)

So how is a person to worship in church? Listen, music matters. Singing matters. But neither of those is 'worship.' There are six or more types of prayer and worship is preeminent, and primary. It's the first and foremost or the rest is irrelevant.

Worship is an attitude; it's not vocalized. It's a body position, not a song. It's usually silent. It's humble. It's bowing. It's a private (although sometimes corporate/ thus simultaneous rendering of private actions) expression of the worth of the God who made us. It's better rendered as "Worth-ship."

So I find it hard when I get to a meeting and immediately am hit with "Let's stand and worship." I find it demanding. I find it noisy at times. I find it assuming.

Not everyone who attends meetings is a believer. Not everyone who jumps out of a car or bus and enters a meeting hall is ready to start praising (the 2nd type of prayer). We need to comply with the advise of Solomon in Ecclesiastes, "Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few." (5.2)

We don't generally give ourselves time to separate from the 'outside' when we come inside. We don't stop and ponder very often. We don't come in and quiet our souls. The psalmist said, "Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me." (Psalm 131.2)

Wonder and quiet. Pondering and listening. That's the first step in worship. Long before the band plays its first song.

If we do that, if we set our hearts toward God, then singing and praising and dancing and participation and intercession and petition and so many other things will naturally flow.

Take a minute.
Take a couple minutes.
Be quiet.
Stop typing.
Stop reading Facebook.
Stop watching tv.

Bow down if you need.
Close your eyes if you need.
Quiet your soul.

Hear God. He's speaking in the quiet of your being. He wants to speak with you today.

Then you can sing.
Then you will sing.
Even if you don't know the words or the melody. And that will be a good time for everyone.

3 comments:

pam said...

I love this post. Too many churches are trying to match the entertainment of the world and acting like elevating the
sound indicates more or better love(worship).

Jeremiah Zaretsky said...

Very reflective Bob. I agree.

Deborah Kline-Iantorno said...

I too love this post. Worship is from the heart, and each individual may choose to express themselves in whatever posture (expresssion) that fits their individual personality. They may be quiet, prostate, listen to the words, join in with a "joyful shout" as it is written (even when they don't know the words), dance in celebration. And worship bands (leaders) are given from God Himself their individual creativity by their Creative God, who created us.. after all, we are created in His image. So, that all being said, we must refrain from judging others in the way they worship. There is ONE Holy Spirit, and He is givin to ALL who believe, no matter how they interpret or expres themselves as long as it is in that SPIRIT and in TRUTH.. the goal for believers is the same... to ultimately dwell with the King through Messiah Y'shua.