17 Jan

5 Things Worship is Not About

HymnBookWhen it comes to church, worship can be a pretty significant and dangerous subject. Often times when we start discussing worship it usually revolves around what music is played on a Sunday morning. A discussion that can turn ugly quick if we start discussing styles of music.

As I’ve spent time in a variety of churches , from a variety of denominations and backgrounds, I think I have become more and more disheartened with the worship experience that happens on a Sunday morning in church. I think for a lot of church goers, Sunday becomes the only worship experience they have. Often people choose a church based on what music gets played on a Sunday. And if that is the case, I think we sometimes miss out on what worship is really about, or meant to be.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what worship is and is not, and for now I want to look at somethings worship is not about.

1. It’s not about music: If you go to church usually the music is called worship, and usually like I said before, when people talk about worship they are talking about music. But, while music plays a part of what worship is, in scripture there is a different picture painted. In the Old Testament especial, when it says someone worshiped it usually mentions they bowed down , not picked up a guitar and sang. Why? Because worship was about a posture people took, about recognizing they were not all knowing, so they physically humbled themselves before God to recognize this. Which brings me to my next point.

 

2. It is not about instruments: I have heard people say things like “I can’t worship if there is not a drummer” or “it’s not really worship unless it’s played on the organ.” When we make statements like this, we might not realize it, but we are misappropriating worship. We are actually putting our focus of worship on the instrument and not God. We become like the ancient Israelites as they wandered the desert and began to worship a golden calf in Exodus 32. If our ability to worship is dependent upon an instrument being played, than we are not worshiping.

 

3. It’s not about the song: I know some people I greatly admire who feel that worship is not worship unless it is an old hymn being sung. And I know others who say things like more modern worship songs are easier to sing. While I think there is a great history of hymnody and some wonderfully creative music being created, if your ability to worship is dependent upon the song being sung, again your worship might not really be about worship. If we are really honest, there are some dreadful hymns, with some horrible theology, just as there are some derivative songs being written today that are inauthentic. Not all songs in a particular time period or style are created equal. Worship has more to do with your motivation for singing than which song you might be singing.

4. It is not about your preferences: In some ways this sums up the last three points. Worship is not about what you like or dislike. We all have preferences and thats great, we are all made unique and have different tastes. But, if your ability to worship is dependent upon you getting what you like out of a music set at church, once again you are probably not focused on the right thing in order to be worshiping. Sometimes, and well I would say most of the time, worship has more to do with you not getting what you like stylistically. Which I’ll unpack more next post.
5. Finally, worship is not about you: As mentioned with every other point, often worship becomes about us getting what we like. This is not worship. Worship is to be focused on God. When we make it about us we are putting ourselves at the centre of our universe, not God. We effectively transfer our worship of God, to us. If when we go to church, or go to enter into worship in another setting our thoughts turn to “what can I get out of this?” or “what does God have for me?” we have missed the point. The posture of worship should rather be what can I offer to God, anything less than that is not worship in the biblical sense.
Those are some of my thoughts on what worship is not really about. What are your thoughts? Are there things you notice that we say worship is about but may be missing the point? Or am I missing the point on what I’m saying?
Next post I’m going to dive into some reflections on what i think worship is about. And there may be some overlap.

3 thoughts on “5 Things Worship is Not About

  1. Pingback: 5 Thoughts on What Worship is About | robsellitto.com

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