Thursday, August 18, 2011
The first is that given the lack of anything in such a service that is not "me centered," save perhaps for the sermon - such service put an extraordinary burden on the preacher. I wonder how many preacher anxious to change worship style to improve attendance think about that?
The second thought springs from this post by Mark Daniels:
God loves every member of the human race and wants to have an everlasting relationship with each of us.When we worship in a fashion that is pleasing to us, is this function of worship fulfilled? If worship is going to confront us with our choice should it not make us uncomfortable somehow? Should it not stretch us to learn new things?
But God will not force Himself on us.
God leaves us free to choose whether we'll take Him up on the new life He offers in Jesus Christ.
He leaves us free to choose other gods.
The fact is that, in this lifetime, when the sin in and around us keeps dogging us, we never get over being tempted to allow our particular "gods of choice" hold sway over our decision-making, priorities, and living. This is why it's so important to keep reading God's Word, praying, worshiping each week with a church family, receiving Christ's body and blood, and listening to the counsel of seasoned Christian friends. These are means by which God, among other things, will set off alarm bells in the consciences and minds of those who really seek Him alerting them to the ways in which they're wandering from God and life.
Some would say that such is exactly what contemporary worship does to an old fuddy-duddy like me. There is a grain of truth there - and I have been so challenged in a few such services, but it seems to be the exception, not the rule. But it does seem like there is always something new to be found in the old worship forms that I am more comfortable with - if for no other reason that the older liturgical types of worship were designed asking the question "How best to worship God," not "How best to fill the pews."
Formality requires attention to things other than our own comfort.