I am finally beginning another set of posts in the Worship Mythbusters series here on the RKWL. Just a reminder: when I use the term worship I am speaking of “liturgy” or our public expression of worship. So for the sake of this discussion “worship” = what we do together in our weekend gatherings.
Here are some statements I might call myths.
“Worship should be easy. I mean, if it is work, then something is wrong.”
“I am just not feeling it today. This can’t be worship.”
“This is just not hitting with these songs.
“They seem to always be asking for something… money, serving.”
The myth is that our worship expression somehow should be painless. If our gatherings have discomfort from an off singer, room temperature, too much or lack of volume, new songs, old songs, or less than desirable leadership then we seem entitled to not just complain but categorize such an experience as not a “real” worship experience. After all, it should not take work. It needs to be painless, right?
How about suffering? How about the idea of cost? It appears that the process of entering into worship might not always be an easy path. I am not saying we try to make it hard. I am saying that our thinking that it is painless goes against the very act of worship and how life works in general. I am also assuming that perhaps there indeed are times when things just flow and we get captivated in the moment. But, is that really how it is all the time?
Sacrifice of praise verses painless offering: Hebrews 13:5
It is quite interesting to read that “continually” offering of a sacrifice of praise is in order. This must mean that somehow our praises themselves are a point of cost. The word “sacrifice” here simply is that we are making an offering. Generally, offerings are of something precious and costly. Certainly not painless. And, this is “fruit of our lips” which gives me the impression that even our words or songs of praise might cost us.
Abraham offering his son Isaac. Genesis 22:2
When Abraham was asked by God to offer his son Isaac as an offering to Him we find that Abraham’s precious heir was put on an altar. Now, in this story we know that God provided an animal instead. We see the theological concept of “propitiation” delivered in this narrative. Worship asks for a sacrifice. Ultimately, Jesus was the son needed to pay for our debt of sin. The cost of Jesus for us hardly can be quantified. Abraham understood that cost perhaps better than you and I.
David paid for his own sacrifice. 2 Samuel 24:18-24
Sometimes a friend might want to help us out and give us the resources for our offering. David refused. He would not take the cattle. He insisted on purchasing his own sacrifice. David said in response to the gift, “..for I will not offer to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost [me] nothing” Worship costs. It is not painless.
In fact, do we sometimes come and watch the worship team do their thing and call that worship? Really. If we offer nothing, are we really worshipping? Vicariously enjoying the environment in a weekend service pales compared to you and I engaging and offering up something that costs. Following David’s example, we should own our responsibility to offer up a sacrifice rather than let our parents, kids, pastor or worship team do it and claim it as ours.
What do you think: should our worship services always be painless or should an actually cost be involved? Is this cost painless or not?