I am working on developing some thoughts I have about worship into something more. I would like you as my readers to participate in a conversation about this. 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. I want to dispel some of these popular, but misinterpreted or false myths and assumptions about public, corporate worship.
Here is a list of six of the titles with some brief thoughts. Let me know what you think about all or any of these as “myths” about worship and liturgy.
- Worship is a lifestyle. Disco is a lifestyle, being a follower or worshipper of Jesus demands more than that. You just do not wear worship, in other words. It requires practice, intent and being separate at times from the mundane. I am not worshipping when I brush my teeth, I am simply brushing my teeth. Is not worship an act of faith rather than just living by a code?
- Worship is not music. Biblically, there are many scriptures that give the posture of worship and music hand-in-hand. Worship may not be music in the pure sense, but certainly the weight of its use in worship in scripture should not be easily discarded. Is not musical worship something we see scripturally in both heaven and earth, and in the OT and NT?
- Worship is not about me. False. It is obvious that God is the object of worship. But, we are the worshipper. We come as humans to worship. When we deny ourselves, that does not mean we become something not human. Jesus was human. We worship like Jesus, not Spock. We bring ourselves into the mix. Can we not bring our desires, emotions and humanity into our worship?
- Worship with hymns is deeper theologically than with modern music. Get real here, folks. There are many hymns that are weak on theology, but we still sing some of them at Christmas. There are many choruses that are fantastically rich with theology. Do white, European songs from 300 years ago really give us a full picture of theology anyway?
- Worship is better in a certain style or structure. The premise here is that there is far more liberty in scripture and tradition than we accept. We become ethnocentric in our worship so often without realizing it. We would never approve of our modern day missionaries imposing Western music on indigenous people without regard to a groups unique culture. Why do we have so much legalism about how other people worship?
- True worship should make me feel good (or bad). Sometimes godly sorrow being felt is what is in order. Sometimes God’s holiness and righteousness is seen and we are overwhelmed. Sometimes God’s justice and wrath is displayed and we respond with some fear. So, all of our emotions as worshippers are employed. We simply respond sometimes and the response is based on what God has done or based on reflecting on who He is.