Every Sunday morning, for 25 minutes, we stand and sing songs before the announcements, offering, and sermon. This 25 minute period is officially referred to as “worship” time, and informally as “the time during when people start showing up for church.” During this time, I am very aware of myself and my busy mind and emotions, the morning routine of getting myself and my kids ready and in place at church, the people trickling into the sanctuary, and the band and singers on the stage. Oh yeah, and sometimes I’ll mouth the lyrics of the song being sung, and more occasionally I’ll actually sing in from the heart and be caught up in the expression of the words and music of the song towards God. Ouch, this doesn’t seem right. Why is it so infrequent that I am lifted up in worship at the end of that first half hour on Sundays? I don’t think I’m the only one either.
Worship, or “worth-ship” – ascribing worth to God: this is what we should be doing. About two years ago I began being troubled by the lyrics of the songs I heard frequently in church. I don’t mean they were heretical, but many did not seem to have much content. Most songs seem to be of the Jesus-is-my-boyfriend variety, which frankly, as a heterosexual male, make me feel slightly uncomfortable, or those which focus on the emotions of the singer rather than on the One to whom the song is supposed to be directed.
I want my worship to be in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and when I sing about emotions I am not feeling at the moment, it is not truth. Perhaps the intent is that in by singing about emotions that I [don’t] feel, my emotions will change and I will begin to feel them. But this seems to much like manipulation and dishonesty in worship, and neither of those sound like worshipping in spirit and in truth.
I would like to see our corporate worship be more of group worship, and less like a concert in which I inaudibly sing along with the featured band. Furthermore, I wish more of the songs we were being led to sing were describing God’s attributes, or at the least, a response from a group, rather than me as an individual. I realize that worship is personal, but it is also corporate. I believe it would be more honest and God-honoring to remove the personal pronouns, replacing most instances of “I” and “me” with “us” and “we,” and sing about God, rather than my feelings about God.
But, perhaps I am mistaken and am not seeing some bigger picture. What do you think?
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