Monthly Archives: February 2014
Yesterday I stopped by my husband’s office on the way to the laundry – fortunately it took no gas and only a little time because both are located in our walk-in basement. David was online exploring the world of U-tube (or maybe God-tube) “worship” venues, some professionally done, some – well, you know, not so professionally done. Since he knows my heart for worship – particularly with music – he said he spotted something that I should see and clicked on a video title.
I have been to many “worship services” over the years – from the red (or blue or green) hymnal format led by organ/piano and front-man dressed in suit and tie, to contemporary worship bands complete with loud-speakers, electric instruments, drums, light shows, etc., dressed in whatever they felt like wearing that day. I have had both good and bad experiences with both worship formats. Honestly, my preference is modified contemporary – meaning, I don’t mind the volume if it does no damage to my eardrums and I don’t care much how the band is dressed if their musical worship leads me into an experience with my Savior and/or my Heavenly Father.
Back to David’s computer worship selection: it was a contemporary band, with a “worship leader” wearing a foot high Mohawk. I’m okay with that. He asked the crowd of people, mostly youth, to take off their shoes because they were on holy ground. Hey, that’s okay too – didn’t God instruct Moses to do the same? What came next appeared to be a really fun kid-time as the participants were instructed to wave a sock around over their heads and jump up and down and spin around as they sang, “You spin me around, Jesus.” Later the instruction came to “wave your hands over your head, like you don’t care.” The kids seemed to be having fun trying to follow these instructions.
We took time to read the comments from various viewers regarding this “worship” video. Some questioned whether it was real worship, others defended “having fun” while you worship.
The next video David clicked on (I can only assume for my viewing pleasure) was one with a woman “worship” leader shrieking out (she definitely was not singing) various instructions to the audience mixed with numerous tributes to God who, based on the volume of her shouts, might have been a bit hard of hearing. (Maybe loud shriek is your preference, but definitely not mine.)
By the way, the first video was labeled “Worst Worship Ever” and the second was titled, “More of the Worst Worship”.
I want to weigh in here with my two or three cents.
The word “worship” comes from an old Anglo-Saxon word, “weorthscipe” – weorth meaning worthy or honorable, and scipe meaning “ship”, which when used as a suffix means “the quality, condition or state of” or “the rank, status or office of”. So the act of worship is ascribing the quality of worth or honor to something or someone.
If someone is addressed as “your worship” it denotes being worthy, having excellence of character, dignity or worth. The verb form of “worship” is defined as “to adore or pay divine honors to”, or “to reverence with supreme respect”.
You can say what you want about modern worship needing to be “relevant” to the worshiper, and defend whatever you want by saying “somebody has to reach the kids on their terms” (although I thought worship was to reach God, not people). But – the questions which the two above-mentioned “worship” illustrations call to mind are these: is what we are doing in the name of “worship” really to honor our Divine Creator, Supreme Being, Beautiful Savior, God above all gods, King of kings, Lord of lords, Holy God, and Loving Father? Are we teaching kids to really “worship” God? Or are we creating crowd-pleasing, emotion-stirring, fun events that have little or nothing to do with ascribing honor to the worthiness of our Heavenly Father or His Son, Jesus the Messiah?
I am not against Christians having fun – but let’s call it a fun-fellowship time and not call it worship. I personally believe that we would be totally bowled over and amazed at the worship that goes on in heaven, were we allowed to catch a glimpse of it this side of the grave.
This is not an attempt to hold up one type of worship above another – I believe that God’s heart can be just as pleased with electric guitars as with pipe organs, with loud music as well as soft music, with slow rhythm well as well as a dance beat, with a man in a suit and tie as well as a girl in jeans and tank top. But I do think that sometimes He wonders what or who we are “worshiping” – are we focusing on Him as we sing our songs or dance our dances or play our instruments.
Do we come away from our “worship” experience knowing that we have touched the heart of our Father and sensing that He has returned the touch to our hearts? Have we been more focused on the fun of the music than on the meaning of the words? Have we connected with heaven while still here on earth as we offer our adoration, our joy, our praise to our loving Father?
Got any thoughts on worship from your own experiences? Share them with me.
©2011, Marcy Alves
This post appeared with a picture of a handsome young man in a uniform on an ad that popped up on one of my free email sites. I don’t know if it was just a come-on for an eager, available and lonely woman, or if it was a sincere search. But it started me thinking.
No, I’m not shopping for a new man; I already have a really great husband – a faithful best friend.
But I couldn’t help but wonder how many people today, both men and women, could identify with that ad? How many wish they had a faithful woman or a faithful man, a faithful wife or husband, even a faithful friend to come alongside them – to stand with them in difficult times.
And how many will be drawn in by such an ad, and will set out on a journey that may leave them even more lonely and disappointed than they were before?
The themes of love and faithfulness shifted in my thoughts from the world of romance to the realm of the spiritual. I thought of an ad that God might place on one of these email sites:
“Awesome God looking for a chance at love with a faithful woman or a faithful man.”
“Faithful God looking for a chance to demonstrate His love to those who are searching for a loving, faithful relationship.”
While not worded like the two preceding posts, such ads have appeared in a very special book; it’s the Bible and it is full of ads from God. Here are some of those God-posts:
Jeremiah 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” (ESV)
Deut. 7:9 “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations . . .” (ESV)
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (NRSV)
Gal. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ . . . and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave himself for me. (NRSV)
1 John 3:1 “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (NIV)
Anyone who responds to these God-posts will discover the One who is faithful to show His love to all who open up to His offer of a loving relationship. He will be there with you in those difficult time when no one else seems to hear your unspoken cries for help or understanding.
The Lord has said:
Heb. 13:5 “ I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Joshua 1:5 “Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”
How about you? Are you looking for someone who will be faithful to you and love you? It’s the cry of the human heart – and God is waiting to answer that call from your heart to His.
©2011, Marcy Alves
Photo by Mikhail Nekrasov/Dreamstime.com