There is an article over at Out of Ur blog entitled Beyond Sermons and Songs: Why Experiential Worship Isn’t Enough by David Fitch that questions our quest for experience in worship. Indeed, worship is more than an experience and Fitch’s point about needing a framework is a valid conclusion. He does not stop there, but basically propagates going to "liturgical" worship. This can be creeds, candles and following the liturgical calendar that orders worship. Here is a quote:
I continue to assert that a sufficient theology of worship must come to grips with the epistemological shifts of the last century whereby we can no longer be naive that a "religious experience,” like the one sought in a rock concert worship service, provides immediate access to God. Experience is something learned and trained into. An experience is produced through interpretive frameworks, particularly language. As Lindbeck would say, "there is no uninterpreted experience." This is one reason the evangelical church must move beyond the "rock concert pep rally" if we wish to recover a worship that shapes truthful minds and faithful experience. Rock concert worship produces an experience, but then fails to give people a framework to interpret it. Read the whole article.
Where I agree with the premise of the need for a framework, I also look to the content of what is being sung and celebrated. What are we having a "pep rally" about? Is it our own interpretation, or is the congregation celebrating God’s grace, mercy and love? Is there more than music in the service? Are there messages or sermons that point to the Christ of the scripture?
What is described as liturgy in this article is far too narrow. Remember, churches in the past were married to the states or nations they were in. There is a lot of cultural baggage, in other words. Singing rock and roll and preaching expository style messages are as much liturgy (worship) as candles and chants. There is beauty in both, perhaps, but really there is freedom to do both. As long as the liturgy focuses on Christ as the center, then we should not fear it. Indigenous worship/liturgy is more important than what the western church did 300-400 years ago.
Don’t get me wrong. Music can be bad if it is self-focused, and preaching can be bad if it is psychology more than the Bible. That is where the "framework" issues come into play. It is content that is biblical, not forms that are culturally temporal that provide framework.