Monday, January 11, 2016
my honest opinion about worship
I have not always attended such a traditional church. I love my church that I now consider my church home, but it's more traditional than that of any I have ever gone to. I was raised in an Assembly of God church and our services were always lively. By lively, I mean upbeat, a worshipful atmosphere, hands raised, people shouting "Hallelujah!" at the end of songs every once in a while. Going from that to where we are now was difficult, because the music is way more traditional.
Now that we've been at this church for five years, I can't imagine enjoying the music any more than I do now. I love that when we first came, my children had no idea what any of the old hymns were. Nowadays, they know a lot of them. I love the new music, but I also love those old hymns like It Is Well and Great Is Thy Faithfulness. Those were songs written in some pretty extraordinary circumstances, and I think that every person alive needs to know the lyrics to the songs and maybe the reason for why a particular song was written.
I say all this to say one thing: I loved the music at our old church. I love the music at our church today. I don't think there is any right or wrong way to worship.
One thing I do think is wrong, though, is to not participate because of a feeling you have.
Feelings are one of Satan's fiery darts that he often throws at us, to try to get us distracted from what we should be focusing on, at least in my humble opinion. (I am speaking from personal experience on this one.) Have you ever been singing a song and didn't like it, therefore you didn't concentrate on the words and did not participate in worship?
I think that worship music prepares our hearts for the message that is about to be preached. I tell the teenagers that I am often with that regardless of what our feelings are towards a song, if we concentrate on the words as if we are singing them to God, then we are worshiping. There are some days that I just don't seem like I am "getting it". You know the kind of day I'm talking about~you're easily distracted, watching everyone else, talking to the person sitting next to you, thinking about what you're going to eat for lunch, wondering why in the world that lady in front of you would wear that to church. (I have had days like this myself, trust me, and I have had to ask God's forgiveness in the middle of our singing.) In times like that, it is hard to participate.
So, what's the solution?
It seems too simple, doesn't it? I don't always remember to do this, either, so don't think I'm just saying all this flippantly. I have to remind myself of this all the time. I pray that my heart will be focused on God. I concentrate on singing a song to Him. (And let me tell you, regardless of your feelings on a particular song, if you sing the words like you are singing them to Him, that'll still your heart and your mind in just a few seconds.) I try not to look around, but just at the screens ahead of me with the words on them. I often pretend that He can hear me singing all for Him. I imagine me in heaven someday, worshiping Him at His throne, and I naturally smile. I don't mean to do that, but I know that I do, because my kids and other friends have commented about why I'm smiling. I can't help it, in fact, when I am singing to Him, how can I not? I also, often times, close my eyes so I can be more focused on Him and His majesty.
It's never about me~my feelings at the moment, my opinion on the song choices, the worship leader or the instruments being used. It is all about Him.
I know it must be frustrating for a choir director and his choir to pour it all out to God in song, and to look out and see little response.
I know it is. I've heard and seen the discouragement on their faces before, both at the churches I've attended in the past (two) and the one I attend now.
My reason in writing this today is to challenge you during the worship time at church. (I am including myself in this.) Don't make it about you and your preferences. Make it about God. He alone is worthy of worship and praise and glory and honor. He is good all the time, and imagine Him being pleased with our offering of praise.
Consider this verse from Zephaniah 3:17:
"Yahweh your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy."
That is the One you are worshiping.
In light of that passage, how is it that we can even sit still and worship? We ought to be standing in reverence and respect, focused on Him and singing to Him with all of our hearts. And yes, maybe even shouting out, "Hallelujah!" or "Glory!" at the end of a song every once in a while. (Someone in our choir sure did yesterday, bless him. He couldn't help himself, and I have been that person before.)
Just consider your perspective and be encouraged.
Love to all.