Friday, March 30, 2012
Worship for me happens during the tending of my terrariums or while doing a water change in an aquarium, or snorkeling down in the river or at the lake. And as I do so, the lines blur between the micro and the macro…the “inside” and the “outside.” In that way these glass boxes of plants and fish and water serve as icons of prayer for me, leaping pads into the wider world and an awareness about ecosystems and our understanding/tending of them.Hmmm, I really like the demphasis of music - I mean I really like that, but then its all about "what worship is 'to me.'" Something wrong with that formulation. Worship is not about ME. Worship is about God. Moreover, it is not about bringing God to us so much as it is about bringing us to God.
Worship for me is rarely accompanied by music, save the notes and melodies of pure awe, wonder and mystery that accompany such experiences. It is a form of prayer without words, a form of prayer that focuses on being in God’s presence and saturated with the sacredness of such a resplendent creation.
Maybe the next age of worship leaders won’t be musicians or performance majors…or even be found on a stage. Maybe they’ll be elbow-deep in a compost pile or hundreds of feet above the ground exploring canopy ecosystems or have a sweaty brow as they prepare jar upon jar of preserves to give purely as a gift to those in the neighborhood.
That would perhaps be a more true liturgy (“work of the people”) than many of us currently experience during a Sunday morning service.
I come back to three things over and over and over when it comes to worship. One, it should remove us from our comfort zone, and not just for the sake of removal, but it must move us in a specific direction. Which brings me to my second thought. Worship must be uplifting. It must remove us from our comfort zone in a manner that takes us somehow higher. In other words, it must somehow be the opposite of much of what passes for entertainment in this day and age.
Finally, and most importantly, worship must be HOLY. That will mean a certain lack of accessibility for we are not holy, we are profane, but we must aspire to holiness.
Holiness means a lot of things, and chief among them is those leading and those participating in worship need to prepare themselves in a fashion that they can come near to holiness. Hence there must be an order of worship designed to move people from the world into the Holy of Holys.
Additionally, holiness is timeless, it is not subject to fashion. Therefore worship cannot seek the latest artistic trend. That does not mean it must be stuck in a book of worship prepared 500 years ago, but it does mean one cannot simply say, "People will like this!' and go for it. It is not about what people like.