Sunday, May 16, 2010

The beginning of a new worship

SO lately there has been this discussion on facebook about worship and God and agnosticism. One of the points made in this discussion was the chemically induced "high" that occurs from singing or participating in a worship service. There is a little bit of a background to that discussion, but I don't need to get in to that. I started thinking about this (again by the way) and processing all the information about the emotional "high" we get from music and the affects this has on our belief system and our reactions to life events. Leading worship, I always paid attention to what a song stirred in people. If you change your voice inflections or you change to just a drum beat or you have just the girls sing a line and then the boys- it all affected the emotional experience a person would have within the worship service. If you tried to pick a song selection that people didn't know or like they simply would not participate. I am not trying to say any of these things make a worship service any more or less "real" just making observations. A question I ponder (and open to responses) is what is the difference between this and going to a Bono concert? Each are equally moving and arguably spiritual (although Bono might be just a tad bit better in the musical department).

We have associated worship with music probably from our first experience with church. It is part of the programming. We go to a service and we will have the first song, a welcome maybe announcements, three more songs give or take a song, listen to some special announcement and then have a sermon. Different churches have different processes here, but the structure here is fairly common place. The music part is commonly referred to as the "praise and worship" segment of the service.

John 4:21-24

21. Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.

22. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
23. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

24.God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

When we read this entire passage and we study what Jesus says throughout the Gospels we see that He refers to worship as something much different than music. I would say that worship has very little to do with music at all and that music is simply an opportunity for us to express our emotions to God. Many times music in a service is more for us than it is for God. We want to be moved and have an experience during that Sunday service. This is part of the misconceptions about worship. Worship engulfs a total life style and commitment to bringing honor to God. True worship can not be measured or taught because true worship is sooo profoundly deep and personal to an individual. A persons worship may include working for the Police department, moving to Africa, staying at home with their children, simply having a conversation about God, or any activity which is done out of reverence of God in obedience to the "calling" He has on one's life.

Worship is unique to to the relationship a person has with God.

James 4:11 NIV

Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.

The only two people who can decide if you worship God are you and God. Who can decipher the motives of another man's heart? We can only assume from what we know and what we have been taught. These are often fallible teachings that lead to legalism and forms of religion.

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