The idea of the difference between what a theological term of worship is and what our practice of public worship is needs to color these conversations. Too many times we narrowly define the “literal” words for worship and do not look in the context of scripture at what people did during worship. They used music, flowing prayers, pageantry and symbols. They shared the narratives of God’s works. The times of worship certainly had the attention of the people.
So, we are brought to another worship myth from my series: Worship Mythbusters. Here is the premise: there are a lot of phrases out there that confuse our liturgy and make our public worship services more complicated than necessary.
This is not entirely true. What does the word “entertainment” mean? From Princeton University we find this definition: “ …entertainment, amusement (an activity that is diverting and that holds the attention).” I would say that Jesus was quite an entertainer. He held public meetings and diverted people’s attention from whatever they were doing to listen to his sermons and teachings. In fact, you might even say that the miracles provided an entertainment value.
What I am saying here is that our public worship (or liturgy) can be and probably should be entertaining. The idea that the discipline of attending corporate gatherings might divert your attention to the person of Christ and his teachings makes sense to me. Is a boring worship service more spiritual than one that engages and entertains?
Obviously, the purpose of public worship is not entertainment, but to slam a blanket statement on the worship team like this one is indeed unnecessary. It is also simply not true. So, lets worship in a way that captures people’s attention and be careful to not get wrapped up in the capturing part and miss the purpose of our gatherings.