Praise and worship are interesting things. Everyone has their own preferences as to style, instruments, volume, lyrics and even settings. I of course also have my own preferences. However as a worship leader in church and various youth events and even occasionally at work people like to voice their preferences to me.
Now let me just add, I am just exploring this issue, I don’t have all the answers, God loves us all no matter what our preferences (unless it involves organs!) that was a joke;).
We have a meeting at work 1 hour every Tuesday, some call it Tuesday fellowship, some centre fellowship, it is a nice time to get together, worship the one true living God, hear about what he is doing over the world and in the office and stuff. The struggle is that our organisation is made up of people all different backgrounds and denominations all with their own preferences and procedures and of late instead of enjoying the variety of what different people bring, one or two have been dropping in and out for the bits they like, or if they enjoy the style of the person leading the meeting they don’t turn up at all (I have been guilty in the past).
Where am I going with this? Corporate silence. One such suggestion made to me of late was
“there should be more corporate silence in said meetings especially during out worship times, after all worship is just about singing is it!”
Ouch. Fortunately I hadn’t been leading the meeting jstu before this email had arrived.
I guess the place to start is why do we do corporate praise and worship?
Is it to wake us up at the start of a meeting?
Get some practice in for heaven? Rev 7
Or is it so that we can collectively agree that our God is awesome and worthy of our praise, to edify one another, and the church, to be encouraged by each other’s praise.
Praise and worship are different things. Praise is all about giving God glory, recognising who he is, declaring to the world his attributes and all he has done for us. Worship is about sacrifice, it is about us laying our lives down for him, giving up our own plans, intentions desires to be filled by him. Romans 12 Sacrifice has to cost us, otherwise it is no sacrifice at all. 1 Chronicles 21 but of course applied in the context of Romans 12!
So i had an email asking me to turn the volume down for these meetings and requesting more times of silence as part of the worship time. In themselves perfectly normal requests except i can’t get my head around corporate silence. If the purpose of getting together to do these things, then surely we need to stay together whilst we do them? There is a time and place. After a sermon for example, “lets take a couple minutes to reflect on when God has been saying to us.” Even at the start of the service, I am not happy about but ” Lets take a moment to be still and get ready to meet with God” As though we don’t meet with him at any other time of the day or week for that matter, how we must calm ourselves before the storm of the next 30 minutes of song singing. I understand peoples lives are busy, takes time to get into ‘it’ on a Sunday morning… but I don’t understand singing a couple songs then having a time of silence, great for the individuals not so great for the corporate, unless something comes out of it, like a word a prophecy, a vision, a testimony a scripture (the theology of those can be debated at another time!). If you want silence, use your personal devotional time.
HEARING from God is also a thought, we have to be silence to listen properly, true, but listen for the sake of it, do it on your own time, in the car, doing the washing up or the hovering. If we are going to be together lets be together and do stuff together.
“Everybody pray in silence”
Also and interesting concept, how can i agree with my brother if I haven’t heard what they have said? Yes God can hear that prayer, but none of the rest of the church nor the rest of the spiritual realm have heard it!
God delights in unity Psalm 133:1 and commands a blessing. How can I stand in unity with my brother if I have no idea what he just prayed?
Let alone the theology of God is in you head he can hear your prayer, my response is shame no-one /nothing else can, including the Devil who you might be praying against at the time.
“Worship is not only about singing”
But God created music to draw us into his presence. It is also handy for warding away evil spirits. 1 Samuel 16
Art is wonderful, dance is wonderful, drama can be wonderful, but singing is something that we do from pre-toddler stage, we all connect with music hear it all the time, and it is I think probably one of the easiest ways for a bunch of people to do to glorify God.
It is an interesting world we live in!
I have also stopped leading said meeting if I can get away with it, I can’t be doing with the questionings and abuse!