Worship p. 2

Growing up I had very little understanding of worship (I still feel like a novice). Over the years I’ve experienced some insights; mostly from being around people who love to worship, from studying the Bible, and personal and corporate worship.

In our little church in Southeast Kansas, the numbers for all the songs in the hymnal were posted up front. The organist played, the choir sang, it seemed like the most important thing was to look like you knew what you were doing (at least that is what I thought).

On more popular songs people would look up from their hymnals during refrains they knew. A few people would sing extra loud and I always wondered if that was to show off. I’d catch my dad glancing at the person and then doing a little eye roll to my mom, and smiling at me.

On the positive side there was plenty of reverence (yes, positive). This wasn’t a time to goof off and there were no “Jesus is my buddy” type songs. We were there to worship a holy God, and that meant an attitude of absolute respect (which my mom was quick to remind me).

However, I never really knew what many of the words meant, and can’t remember anyone explaining them. We never talked like this around the house (King James English) even in respectful conversation, and I had no idea what the “Royal Diadem” was, but we were bringing it forth…

Years later when I first experienced God’s love, most of the words began to make more sense. Even if I didn’t understand them I got the gist of what was being said. I couldn’t get enough.

Then we started attending other meetings where the songs were simpler, the leader played guitar, and words were ones we sometimes used in conversation. But we still weren’t singing the “Jesus is my buddy” songs. They didn’t come into vogue until the 90’s.

Many times I wonder if we’ve lost something in the area of reverence…

How could John, the “disciple whom Jesus loved,” considered by many His best friend, record this of his encounter with the Risen Christ: “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” Rev. 1:17

Opposite reverence we can get overly familiar, especially when we sing mostly about how we’re feeling or how we want to feel. But I’ll save that for a future post.

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