Trusting God’s Revelation in Worship

   In the introduction to his book, Simply Jesus, N.T. Wright is talking about “Jesus’s way of running the world….” which he states is through his followers.  Then he says, “The heart of their life is Spirit-led worship, through which they are constituted and energized as ‘the body of Christ.”

When I think of half-empty pews, superbowl Sundays, and tepid singing in our worship services, I wonder if we have failed to help the body of Christ to comprehend that herein we are “constituted and energized.”  Let me hasten to say I am convicted there is a vast difference in disciplining (disciple-ing) the church to “not forsake the assembling” while waiting upon the Lord on the one hand and running countless (pun intended) attendance campaigns and/or even scolding believers to be faithful church members on the other.  Hints of egocentric emphasis, “be sure to come and hear me _____ (sing) (preach)” can so quickly distract from the true center of Christian worship, the Christ, whose chosen bride we have become, into Whose likeness we are being formed.

All students of worship know well that the rhythm of Christian worship as demonstrated in the biblical narrative and in classic historic practice is Revelation and Response.  That is, God reveals Himself and we the people respond.  Since “God is Spirit and his worshipers worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24), it is difficult to know what His revelation may look like specifically.  Our opportunity in gathered worship is to show what He has done in times past, and how He has revealed Himself, then to pray and remain sensitive to His revelation in worship.  For worship leaders it is incumbent upon us to trust the Lord for revelation, and to do our planning and preparation in a way that will lift up the things of God, the acts of God, the person of Jesus, and wait upon and pray fervently for the movement of the Holy Spirit.

The well-known and loved proverb says,

Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your   path.  (Prov 3:5)

Just because we are leading others in worship does not mean that following the psalm’s admonition will come easy.  To the contrary, it can be difficult to trust and obey in the throes of parishioner demands, whether for certain music styles, their pet interests for emphasis, personnel, or just generally trying to please people in public worship.

As pastors and worship leaders charged with maintaining the coffers and finding ways to keep the lights on (yes, even robo, L.E.D. lights), we feel pressure to allow organic Spirit-trusting worship to turn toward something that falls far short of incarnational feasting on Presence of our Head and body gathered, the Sacred Word, the Table, and the mission of being sent to do kingdom work.  Attempts at commandeering worship to make it an attraction event that will pack the pews with inspiration- consumers reminds us how easily we humans function in non-faith based ways.

Would that we might trust the Lord in all our ways that He would make straight our paths, and that He might refresh and renew our worship through His revelation of Himself.

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

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