Sunday, October 3, 2010

When the music fades . . .

I'm coming back to the heart of worship,
And it's all about you, it's all about you, Jesus.
I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it,
And it's all about you, it's all about you, Jesus.

The refrain above is from a worship song called "The Heart of Worship" by Matt Redman. You can read the rest of the lyrics here. The Lord brought this song to mind when I woke up one day last week. I thought about the song for few minutes and realized why the Lord called my attention to it. The Lord was trying to tell me that worship should be simple.

Worship music shouldn't be performed like a Broadway production, on a big stage with fancy lights, stage decorations, fog machines, Power Point lyric slide shows with fancy backgrounds, a big choir, and lots of musical instruments. All those things are distracting to what really matters, which is praising the Lord with my whole heart, thanking Him for who He is and what He's done for me, and thanking Him for what he's going to do.

My family has been attending a non-denominational charismatic church for the past 5 years and their way of doing worship is just like the first line of the paragraph above. I was a member of that big choir for over 4 years until the summer of 2009 when the Lord told me I was burned out and I needed to take the summer off, so I did. At the end of the summer, I asked the Lord if I should go back to choir and He again told me no. I really haven't missed it at all. Choir took a lot of my time and my family was really getting annoyed at the time I was spending away from them.

I have been attending Sunday evening services at a local Calvary Chapel for the last few weeks (I've been trying to get my husband to switch to Calvary Chapel, but he's not ready yet. Prayers would be appreciated.) Worship is led by the pastor's wife, who sings and plays keyboard. Last Sunday, there were bongo drums accompanying the keyboard. There is no Power Point slide show, just a couple of printed lyric sheets. Since I already know most of the songs, I can just close my eyes and commune with the Lord while I'm singing. It has been so refreshing just to sit and simply sing while the keyboard plays, with no other distractions.

Not only should we make sure the surroundings of worship are not distracting, we should also look at the lyrics of the songs we are singing in worship. There are songs by Christian artists that may be perfectly good songs, but they are not worship songs. There are so-called worship songs that are what I call "cheerleader" songs – there is a fast beat that the singers jump up and down to and the songs have "feel-good" lyrics. These songs do not praise Jesus.

Worship is not just songs or surroundings, but an attitude of the heart. Matt Redman nails this in the bridge of "The Heart of Worship":

I'll bring you more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You're looking into my heart

Paul writes in Ephesians 5:18b-20: ". . . but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Now there's a recipe for true worship.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading! See you again soon!