On Worship

There’s not too much to add to this, I just want to share an anecdote I witnessed at a worship seminar held for the worship team of a major church (considering German measures it’s a mega church). The church has two worship services, one in the morning, which is aimed at the “regular” church going people (young middle class families up to older middle class folks) & one in the evening, which is aimed at the younger people (teenagers, young adults, college students). The morning service is based on a more liturgical framework, in which worship music is divided up into several blocks and they usually have only one or two songs. The evening service has a longer worship block consisting of anything from 5 up to 8 worship songs. I usually went to the latter.

During the seminar a team leader of evening service made a snide remark aimed at the worship culture of the morning service, which resulted in some serious (but much needed) debate about what worship is and what worship is not. The thing that struck me most, was the trust into their own musical skills worship teams develop. I am definitely not exempt from this, even though I consider myself to be a highly mediocre musician (you know the kind, talented enough to make people admire you at open stage, but too lazy/”grounded into reality”/whatever to ever go anywhere with it). At a certain point, the statement was issued that we, the worshippers from the evening service, could help the other teams, from the morning service, to develop a more fulfilling worship experience…

Wow, what kind of arrogant notion have we gotten ourselves into? I am all for musically well-made worship and I am more into free-style worshipping over strict liturgy. Often I catch myself thinking the thought, that if only we “more experienced” worshippers could show another worship team (or if I’m at home in my pietist church heritage: if we could free them from this boring liturgical stuff) than they’d be so much better off. I don’t even know if the metaphor with the splinter in my brother’s eye fits anymore for this kind of spiritual diarrheea. Jesus was quite clear on that: It doesn’t matter whether we worship God by means of ancient liturgical tradition, where every hand movement is scripted and has some semantic value that correlates to the colors of the accessories the pastor/priest/preacher wears or led by a hip pop band with a crisp guitar solo on a Fender strat, neck/middle pickup position, tube amp very slightly overdriven (just on the edge between clean sound & crunch) and a healthy dose of delay (you all know that worship song solo sound, they all sound so much the same I often wonder whether the spirit favors U2).

God wants us to worship in spirit & in truth and to come to him with a humble & broken heart. I can’t speak for other worshippers, but measured by this standard… I’m probably more often than not a crappy worshipper.

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