Recently I stumbled across a blog by Thom Schultz titled ‘Why They Don’t Sing on Sunday Anymore’. I admit it was an interesting read and may challenge some of the preconceptions that we have about how we do Sunday church services but for me it raised the issue of worship. In particular, the important issue for me is why we worship.
When I talk about worship I am not simply talking about what happens during the singing time on a Sunday service. This is an important aspect of our worship together as God’s people but not adequate enough for what I want to discuss. For me worship is far more than singing. It is our response to God as he reveals himself to us reflected by what we say and what we do both as individuals and together. I believe that worship starts with God. He is gracious enough to show who he is and we are privileged to be able to respond to him. As such worship is first and foremost for God. It is our recognising God and giving ourselves over to him.
Worship & People.
Have you ever heard someone say “The worship today just didn’t move me” after a church service? How would you respond? Well, firstly worship isn’t really for you. It is for God. Worship is giving ourselves to God. It is all about him because he is worthy of our worship. But that is not to say that nothing at all happens to us when we worship God. I believe powerful things are able to happen within us during worship. It isn’t simply that we are encouraged and uplifted because of worship. This may be true but there is something far deeper that occurs.
Psalm 115:4-8 give us a glimpse of what happens during worship but it does this by looking at idols. Firstly it shows that idols don’t have any power. They are silent, blind and unfeeling but the real kick in the guts comes in verse 8 – those who make and worship them will become just like the idol. Think about what the psalmist is saying. We take on the character of whatever we worship! When we come to see to God properly and worship him, the Holy Spirit changes us to reflect who he is. As we as individuals and corporately worship God we increasingly discover his heartbeat and find that we are captured by this. The true sign of people whose lives embody worship is that they are becoming more and more like Jesus. The Holy Spirit is transforming them to be carriers of God’s love, who sacrificially live to make Jesus known and who humbly surrender their own agenda in exchange for God’s
This is the type of worshipper that I long to be. I can understand the problems that Thom Schultz’s blog raises and his longing for a setting that enables people to worship more freely, but I don’t agree with his actions. The solution to his struggle isn’t to stop singing but to see what is really at stake. We sing because God is worthy. We sing because we long to be like Jesus. We have reason to raise our voices loudly and sing to the one who comes to meet us and make us like him.