Friday, May 05, 2006

Christian Worship - Does it Really Take 'All That'?

I attend a Baptist church. Every Sunday we gather to hear a sermon, praise God, sing along to the music, worship, give our offering and return to our homes. But it is an understatement to say that we simply 'enjoy' ourselves while attending church.

We sing. We dance. We clap loudly at the slightest provocation. We jump up and down. We run the aisles. And, sometimes, we pass out from the sheer joy of it all.

As a worshipper at a church that is 'high in the Spirit', I am often asked the question - "Does it really take 'all that' (all that meaning - all that noise, all that hollering (by the preacher), all that music and all that excitement)?" So I ask you that question as well - do you think it really takes 'all that' to worship God?

I could have chosen a different kind of church setting. I could have chosen to engage in the solemnity of the Catholic mass. Or the subdued excitement of the Lutheran church. Or I could have chosen a church that emphasized 'teaching' over 'preaching'. One that was quiet, thoughtful and reflective of the Awesome Unknown that is God.

But I chose the church where I currently worship. With its combination of exuberance and scholarly learning. Shouted worship mixed with deep silences into which we whisper our Awe of God. Dancing and jumping up and down contrasted with the sister in the corner raising her hand in silent praise.

So, again, I ask you - do you think it really takes 'all that' to worship God?

I think it does. I think it takes all you are willing to put out there to worship God in the way you see fit. But I also think you can worship and praise God silently, respectfully and with little ado. I think there is just as much joy to be found in raising your hands to silently worship God as the man or woman has who is running down the aisles as if they recently left a fire. Just as much passion in the man dancing for joy as the child who is clapping her hands and rocking back and forth in silent wonder.

The Bible seems to reflect both views as well. Psalms 66:1-2, says "...Make a joyful noise unto God, all the earth: Sing forth the glory of his name: Make his praise glorious." But, conversely, John 4:24 says "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth." This tells me that God accepts praise and worship how it is offered - and welcomes both. King David danced mightily before the Lord, but God spoke to Elijah in a still, small voice. God just wants you to come. I think it is just us who get caught up in the form and fashion.

How do you prefer to worship God? Do you think there is a difference between praise and worship?

Technorati tags:
, , , ,

6 comments:

ms mimi the mocha soulchild said...

Thanks Sonya. I think worship is both a public and private act, living in that thin world between the intimate and the animated.

We should never worship for show, or be prohibited from worship because of fear. I think if the spirit leads you to shout, then shout. And if it leads you to be still and be filled do that. Ir both.

Indeed it may take all that, and more...

chrys said...

Found you at "Stingray" - Glad you're there. Salty has great taste! Just to holler HI.

T.H. said...

I believe true worship is obedience to God and loving your brother. I believe you can corporately worship in whichever way feeds your spirit. I like lively services if it’s not at the compromise of good teaching. Many churches excite the flock but don’t feed them. Good instruction must come first.

sonya said...

Ms. Mimi:
You make a good point about worship being both private and public. Sometimes I think we tend to one at the expense of the other. Balance is the key.

Chrys:
Thanks for commenting! I've been visiting your blog as well and I've learned more in 10 minutes than many of my history classes taught me! Hello to you as well.

T.H.:
Yeah - I don't like services that are lively at the expense of good, solid teaching. My church does a good job of both, but it takes good teaching (and an understanding of God) to ever get to the 'exciting' part (for me at least).

Mia said...

Amen Sonya... yes, I think it takes "all that" and more to Praise the Lord!!

Some people will never understand the true joy that being filled with the Holy Spirit can bring.. until the first time it happens, then there's no stopping it!

Just found your blog, definite bookmark for me :-)

Anonymous said...

hi