Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Are We Restricting Our Worship?

How are we restricting our worship to God?

I’ve been pondering this recently whilst reading the book ‘unceasing worship’ by Harold M.Best (which I highly recommend!).
Harold articulates so very well that
“addiction to a style inevitably leads to a fear of variety. Are we afraid to assume that God is the Lord of continuous variety & first-day newness? “Not in my style, therefore I cannot worship”. Represents this particular idol, I realize that style is important. I realize further that each local assembly must make conscience-based choices about style. And I ultimately realize that no style can begin to capture the grace & glory of the subject and object of it’s expression. The foolishness of style-centered worship is exposed by the nature of God’s creatorhood namely that he does not confine himself to one vocabulary or one language.”

The way he expresses this way in which we confine our heart of worship to particular styles really made me think. We do tend to adopt our favourite styles of worship and begin to limit our experience of God’s spirit to the times we worship in this style. I’m a culprit myself of this mindset, falling so in love with some very free contemporary worship styles , that some hymns and old Chris Tomlin songs don’t seem to  thrill me anymore. Visa, versa, I’ve seen many reject the new worship styles of Bethel, Hillsong etc. Because they don’t fit their model of how worship should be. Or even their preference of how they experience God’s presence. I can understand this to an extent, as we all have particular preference when it comes to musicality and worship atmosphere, and lyrical content. What I have been challenged on is that God’s presence is not limited to musical expression, and it sure doesn’t only turn up when oceans starts playing, or when your favourite hymn is belted out. God’s presence is available to you whether you like the worship set or not, so reach for it!

 Call on God to break the stylistic preference barriers that restrict you in giving him the worship he deserves. I had one of the most intimate experiences in God’ presence the other Sunday morning after reflecting on the restrictions I’ve been placing on his presence during worship. The worship time was by no means seamless, and I knew only about a 3rd of the songs being played. But I trusted that God’s presence was in the room, and I was thirsty to experience it tangibly. He took me to a wide open space, and I felt fully refreshed and reminded of the expanse of his love. 

Amidst these reflections on worship, I have been yearning to learn more about how to worship God with the truths of his word. I have found a new love in old hymns, as they carry such truth grounding in the word of God, they so magnificently serve as a tool to give God to worship he deserves. I also still hold such a love and joy for the new worship songs coming out that invite us to take time to dwell in God’s presence and sing our own hearts song to him. I guess most of all I am excited to see a church that incorporates all styles of worship, modern or traditional, from all countries, all ages, because that is the worship God deserves! Our own personal heart cry woven into a beautiful offering of worship to the God most high. 

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