BE PATIENT – EASTER WORSHIP LINGERS ON!

Resurrection Coypel 1700 FLASH!  WOOSH! BAM!  Those words are more fitting to a Superman or Batman cartoon than they are to the impact of the Resurrection of Jesus.  Our modern artistic pallet seems to be rooted in the dramatic that does not “take too long.”  I found myself both amused and disturbed by some critics’ review of the recent movie rendition of Les Miserables, due to the fact that it took 157 minutes.  Guess that is too long to wait for redemption.  Wow!  No wonder we do not have the patience to read the Bible through, or even worse, to cut God slack either because He seemed in history to go long periods of time without miraculous revelation, or because He said Jesus was coming back and here we are ….still waiting.

So, why in the world would we want to extend Easter past one Sunday?  Why would we want to stretch it out 50 days, all the way to Pentecost Sunday, like liturgical Christian calendars say?  I mean, we got it, Jesus was raised from the dead…now let’s move on. Right?  There are many excuses for such an attitude, and we evangelicals can be experts at excuses to avoid hard truth or convicting revelation.  For instance, among leaders I sadly hear the spiritualized stewardship efficiency excuse.  “These are demanding times.  Instead of reveling in the Resurrection, we must get the job done.”  This is the one that leans heavily upon our responsibilities, thus justifying our impatience.  That achievement-oriented thinking starts the Great Commission with “Go ye,” and leaves off the precipitating section that reveals the disciples’ ethos of worship in which the Great Commission was given in the first place; the one that prescribes the only means by which the “going and making” will have any effect.  For Jesus said, “all authority is given to Me (Jesus) in Heaven and on earth.”  (Matt 28:17-20)

One of our biggest problems in present day evangelical Christendom is our impatience.  Seems to me we experience (and foster) this impatience in our dis-ease with taking any time to linger in story, to mine its depths, unveil its art.  To the contrary, we have bastardized beauty, sought utility as highest virtue, and given in to the average videogame attention span, as if  all worshipers have minds the size of a peanut.  What are we saying when we trade Worship Preparation or Prelude with Video Countdown?  What is the message yielded when in our worship we chase away any possibility of silence with extended noodling on acoustic guitar or keyboard?  If we were actually still, what is it we are afraid we might hear?  Could it be that our over-stimulation of worship space and time is actually rooted in our impatience with God?  It surely can seem to communicate that message.

Where does this impatience show up for those in worship leadership?  For preaching pastors it may be the resistance to prescribed or long-visioned preaching plans.  For worship music leaders it can even be reflected in something as mundane as sped-up tempi, or penchant to favor usage of “new” songs in worship.  For worship planners, our present inclination to video testimonies in order to control both what is said and the time within which it is delivered, may well be indicators that we are giving in to efficiency over ethos. 

Why my appeal for more extended view of worship and worship effect in life transformation, and disciple-formation?  Because there is value in the aggregate effect of what the Risen Christ does in our lives and churches through the Holy Spirit over time.  In no way does this view diminish the instantaneous expression of God’s power through whatever means He deems appropriate.   Nor does it in any way belittle the man, woman, parent, or child bowing to accept when “that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.”  Rather, this appeal is that we might more boldly faith God’s work in His time, and help worshipers join in placing ourselves in His time, as opposed to trying to get Him to fit into ours.  Perhaps the live art offering in worship will replace the internet connection of my smartphone.  Perhaps my true joining of communal song will remind my ears, voice, and heart that there is joy in “making melody with thankfulness in heart,” that goes beyond hearing whatever music or song I want.

One of my trusted colleagues has a weekly blog entitled Worship EvaluationThese two words capture the essence of my appeal to you who plan and lead worship, who may either be regular readers, or who may happen upon this article whether by Google or the Holy Spirit, recognizing the latter is capable of using the former.  In Holy contemplation and Spirit-led community, let us give ongoing thoughtful evaluative effort to every aspect of gathered worship.  In this season of Pascheltide or Eastertide, let us continue triumphantly to “raise your joys and triumphs high. Alleluia!”

Explore posts in the same categories: Choir Ministry, Church keyboard players, Church Music, Congregational Singing, Leading Worship, Music Ministry, Private Worship, Singing Worship, Spiritual formation through singing, Worship Leaders, Worship Pastors, Worship Reminders, Worship theology, Worship thoughts, Youth Worship

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