The power of worshiping Jesus together
We were sitting outside in the rain with a few hundred people waiting on the concert to get started. A guy was telling me about his brand of following Jesus… “I don’t need the church. I can watch a great message on youtube and get all I need. I believe in Jesus, but I might be different than some people, I hate worship. Getting together with people to sing songs is such a bore and makes no sense to me…”
After a few moments of pause- did he just say what I think he said? “hate worship?” – we went on to discuss the implications of his statements.
It is easy to vote no on the whole menu when you taste something you don’t like. But that is the cultural bleed which can so powerfully taint us when it comes to following Jesus. He was clearly missing the why, the who and the what of worship.
Sure there are a lot of adjustments which can be made in local church worship. Some examples of cultural bleed include: self-absorption which results in singing way more about my feelings than the greatness of God; shallow interaction with God and His book which results in shallow lyrics; passively watching other people sing or perform; songs so creative and complicated they are impossible to follow; repetition of the same phrase for 5 minutes which leads to 5% experiencing bliss and 95% thinking about lunch. What a challenge for worship leaders, musicians and pastors!
Eugene Peterson’s gives a beautiful picture of the WHO and WHAT of WORSHIP.
“Common worship, that is, corporate worship (worship ‘in common’), gives the basic form and provides the essential content for this aspect of ‘growing up’ to the ‘full stature of Christ.’ Private worship while alone in semi-paralysis before a TV screen is not mature worship. Certainly we can worship in solitary. Some of our richest moments of worship will come while strolling on a beach or wandering in a garden or perched on a mountain peak. What we must not do is deliberately exclude others from our worship or worship selectively with like-minded friends… Maturity develops in worship as we develop in friendship with the friends of God, not just our preferred friends. Worship shapes us not only individually but as a community, a church. If we are going to grow up into Christ we have to do it in the company of everyone who is responding to the call of God. Whether we happen to like them or not has nothing to do with it.” p. 36, Practice Resurrection
What would happen if we approached worship this way?
What if we committed to this type of maturity, which is like applying a Tide stick to cultural bleed?
What if we keep adjusting how we worship in order to please God more?
Just think of the amazing potential to change the world when Jesus is exalted and we love one another…
Broken relationships are healed and captive people are set free.
That’s what I signed up for.