Worship and the Big Picture

Attending memorial services as I did this past weekend causes me to meditate upon larger themes of life.  Reminded of my own mortality, I often think about what contributions I want to make while living, and what messages I want to be certain to pass along to family and others.  Alas, however, Christian worship calls me to a higher and lengthier view.  Worship truly centered in God places my life in His Kingdom through the Son (Col 1:20; Jn 14:6) having drawn me to the Father by the Spirit (1 Cor 2:6-16).  The resultant vision is not a picture of me, memorialized as one who knew the answer to life’s questions – a memory that might have others reminiscing, “wasn’t he a smart or wise man who knew much.”  The resultant vision of authentic Christian worship is of Christ in Whom I place my full faith and trust.

The service for Dr. Wesley L. Forbis certainly stirred such deliberations.  My reflecting began  during the prelude of the service which consisted of music recordings that were played as underscore to the slideshow presentation that chronicled snapshots from Forbis’s life as author, editor, professor, and churchman.  The music was majestic and accented by huge symphonic swells and the sound of choirs singing Dr. Forbis’s lyrics. The combination of what I heard in the majestic music and what I saw in the photographs of Forbis was moving in an unusual manner.  If you closed your eyes and listened to the music you might think of majestic cathedrals or awe-inspiring nature scenes.  Yet on the screen was flashing black and white photos of Forbis’ life as little boy, college football player, father, grandfather, and aging husband as well as conductor, classroom professor and master musician. But then again, the juxtaposition of the two realms revealed something of who Wes Forbis was in life.  Like many of us, he was “all of the above.”  As a disciple he reflected a reconciled life in Christ through his writing, his compassion and interest in his students and colleagues, and through his love and kindness expressed to family and strangers.  Acts of benevolence shared at the memorial service called attention to a Christlikeness Dr. Forbis had expressed in humble ways.  Even in and through the telling, it is the Christ of those humble ways we worship.

The experience of the funeral coupled with recent worship consultations, discussions, and readings has stirred me to encourage worship leaders to consider how well we help worshipers to see the “big picture” in our services of worship.  Perhaps we should review our worship to be certain we have not placed current events above the grand story of creation, the fall, redemption, reconciliation, restoration, return of the triumphant Christ.  It would do us well to evaluate whether our services inspire worshipers to think more about themselves and how they feel spiritually, or whether we truly place Christ before them.

I believe it was Henry Blackaby who stated that with all of our charismatic speaker personalities and our technical and musical enhancements we no longer needed the Holy Spirit.  Of course, the reference was to underscore precisely our desparate need for the Holy Spirit, without Whom our gathering is in vein.

Help worshipers to worship and sing the big picture.  We worship the God Almighty Who created heaven and earth.  It is He “from Whom all things come and for Whom we live.” (1 Cor 8:6a)

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son

And to the Holy Ghost

As it was in the beginning

Is now and ever shall be

World without end. Amen, Amen

-Gloria Patri 4th c.


Explore posts in the same categories: Leading Worship, Singing Worship, Spiritual formation through singing, Uncategorized, Worship Reminders, Worship theology, Worship thoughts, Youth Worship

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