Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Last night at our house church...

Last night at the church gathering at our house, we enjoyed some wonderful food. Vegan Japanese food lovingly made by one of our members. We always share the cooking duties so we all can use our gifts of service and hospitality. Though it isn't a cooking contest, it almost seems like it sometimes as the food we get is so amazing.

After eating, one of our members lead us in a discussion about worship. Having been raised in the church he had a very set view of what worship was. It was the slower songs that followed the faster ones at the beginning of the service. He told us about his journey towards a completely different view of worship now. One that encompasses thanksgiving in the midst of daily life, a sense of appreciation and awe.

Then we all shared our own experiences. I was raised Catholic so I shared about how it wasn't about music at all, but about the Eucharist. Then I became a born again pentecostal and it became all about music and emotion and even posture. I then became a big devote of alternative worship, engaging arts into worship experiences, which I still love to participate in. Now worship is more about living my life surrendered to God.

A few of our community do not have a faith in God, and it was interesting to hear their reflections about what worship means. One said he viewed it as contrived and worthless when he was younger. Seeing people do all of this emotional stuff yet they lived totally self absorbed lives. But as he got older and developed a spirituality he looks at it as being in the moment, appreciating the good world, the beauty of the plants and animals, doing good to others and making a difference.

Others shared about their ideas of worship. Some still loved singing songs, some hated singing songs, some enjoyed silence, but we all decided worship was more than something we did at a meeting. The question then became, how can we reflect what worship is in our individual lives when we gather?

So my questions to you is, what does worship mean to you? And how do you see it best reflected when the saints gather? and how should our gathering worship effect our everyday life?



Jeremy R said...

First I believe our lives are worship to God and in a gathering it it is anything done together than edifies God. Music, silence, ect.

I did a sermon on the subject http://ia700307.us.archive.org/3/items/JeremyRitchWhatIsWorship_/WhatIsWorship_.mp3

gord said...

Worship to me is whatever you do when you are focused on God and giving him glory. Prayer, singing, serving, smoking a pipe and drinking a beer in your back yard. It's hard to label it and it's different for everyone and continually changing. I for one really can't stand singing in church. Others really find it appealing. I prefer the old style Anglican services with their repetitions and liturgies. Of course some would find that sort of worship awful.

As John said I think it's important to keep exploring what worship is to you and to not judge other Christians on what they find is a good way for them to worship.

Conrad said...

Regarding starting with fast songs moving into slow songs is what we loosely call moving from praise to worship (i.e. fast to slow).

My goal as a worship leader is to usher in the presence of God (as best i can) and to move people into flowing in the spirit of God. If a large portion of the church isn't genuinely down on the floor weeping and praising God, then that was not a good service in my estimation.

Not that the external environment is what i am seeking, but i am actually seeking God's manifest presence to be in the room with us. Jesus calls us to have a relationship with Him and God is Spirit. We are to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. When God's presence manifests people have to go to the floor in reverance. It is awesome! Repentance, forgiveness, deliverance, tears, and often healings flow.

The mainstream has turned worship into entertainment. a set number of songs, very rigid, with applause, and people raised up on stage etc.. This kind of service is missing the point of worship, in my opinion.

Something awesome - is worshipping in spirit by playing/singing spirit songs. Basically, impromptu spirit led songs where everyone participates as the spirit leads. It may only have two chords, but Watch Out! These sessions can go on for hours! You really do lose track of time in His presence.

Here is the scripture i think of as i am describing this:

Act 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

To me that is having church! Fasting and ministering to the Lord till He moves!

God bless!

john jensen said...

Conrad, I have been in services like that, and to be honest I loved them. They were awesome experiences. But I have a question regarding them and a few things you said.

First you said it your job to usher in the presence of God. Now, I have always understood that, and I would have said the same thing when I was "leading worship" in the past but...

Isn't the presence of God completely and fully promised both in us and among us as we gather? How do you usher in what is already there?

The second is, how is it your "job" to move others? and how do you do it?

I still lean way more towards a Romans 12 definition of worship as offering your whole life as a sacrifice to God, not an experience.


Patricia said...

As one of the growing population of the de-churched, worship is one of those loaded words that meant the structured hour of 11 a.m. to sorta-past noon on Sunday while I was being raised "in church." And if you were really spiritual, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday night. Then for the old people and spiritual martyrs, Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

There's a lot of loaded words for those recovering from churchianity, "worship" being one of them, and unless/until churchy language can be redeemed from its hideous and monstrous entanglements, I'm gunshy to even try to define what certain words mean to me, because it's just not pretty.

john jensen said...

We expressed many such ugly thoughts last night I think we can take it go for it Patricia


Patricia said...

John, I simply mean that so much of religious language has been hijacked into the narrow connotations of often-abusive churchianity. For me, those words simply have not been recovered, and I'm negatively affected to engage with them.


Conrad said...

Yo Rev!

I would say that you have a good point.

Ha ha, but seriously, if i was to lead worship and not do anything but quote Romans 12, i might not last long at church!

I could say we are a living sacrifice, but then so could the people in Acts. Paul and Silas didn't have to sing praises, but then would the gates of the prison have opened up t? (Acts 16) They didn't have to fast and minister to the Lord (Acts 13) but would the Holy Spirit have commanded them to send Saul and Barnabas? What if John wasn't in the spirit on the Lord's day in Revelation?

Worshipping is by no means a formula to get God to move His hand, but there are times when God shows up in a big way like in Solomon's temple where the priests couldn't minister. God does amazing things when HE wants to do it whether it is in response to worship or not.

Yes, God is always with us. However sometimes He just comes in and overwhelms a person with His presence. it is an amazing experience.

As far as me "moving" others, i am not sure i got my point across. that sounds kind of weird put that way! lolz

A worship leader is one who leads. If i am not getting into the presence of God, then the whole service begins to feel like the heavens are made of brass. It feels like empty songs with empty words. The propphetc doesn't flow, and basically not much happens spiritually. Does that make sense?

If i find myself earnestly seeking God and actually breaking through into His presence through song and worship, then ususally the rest of the people in the service catch on too.

In His presence, that's where i belong.

God bless!