Singing Worship as One

Singing WorshipI like for everyone to get along.  Well, that is a bit problematic since I utilize music as expression of worship and ministry.  And so far I have not found the music for worship that everyone appreciates.  I have not always been completely honest about this position either.  There have been times that I even made statements like, “I do not care what complaining people think, or whether they like our music or not.”  They just need to get their hearts right.”  Note the divisive tone in the spirit of such an attitude.  Not only was the attitude spiritually unsound, but it really was not true.  In fact, I cared very much what people thought, and at some level of consciousness wanted everyone to like the music I was planning for worship.  At the same time, when I plan for worship, I am keenly aware of certain standards learned over years of training and influence of respected teachers and others.  What’s more, my own preferences are, no doubt, a combination of personal impulses and genetic art (and heart) language that has then been shaped through that learning.  So, the desire for people to like the worship music may run head-on into those personal impulses and the shaping and learning fashioned by education and experience.  What is a musician-minister to do?   Perhaps oneness in worship will not be fashioned by a common acceptance of musical material, as such, at all.  And yet, scripture indicates God’s pleasure in unity of His people.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
life forevermore.

            –Psalm 133:1-3

The psalm resonates with a spirit for which we long in gathered worship.  It is critical for Christian worshipers, beginning with leaders, to be reminded over and again that unity is not of our making.  Note in verse 3, the Lord has commanded the blessing.  The unity which escapes us when we seek to build it upon ourselves, especially in such things as mutual tastes, common dispositions and affinities, etc., can be found only in the One in Whom our worship rests.  The Triune God enacts perfect worship in Father-Son-Spirit communion of Oneness.  Oh to be like Him!  Make us one, Lord.  Make us one.

This week I attended the Baptist Church Music Conference in Dallas.  The theme selected for the conference was “The Power of One: Empowering Unity Through Worship.”  Note that it says “through worship,” and not through music.  Even though the conference was, in fact, a music conference and all the plenary sessions included musical presentations and participative music-making opportunities, and breakout sessions dealt largely with music-related topics, there was recognition that unity would not be found in music, but rather in worship.  As such, the focus is not the worship itself, but rather in the One we worship.

How good it has been to be with brothers and sisters from Baptist churches across many states, and even some foreign countries, and to share in the experience of music-hearing, and music-making.   Through gathered worship in Word and song, conference sessions, table conversations, and prayerful meditating I have been freshly reminded of the impossibility for unity in the body of Christ except that unity be rooted solely in the Husband of the Bride, the Head of the Church, Christ Jesus Himself.  Our singing does not have the power to unify us, but rather the Spirit alone can unify us in Christ, including our singing.

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.  Ephesians 4:4-6

In this season of Lent it is good to reflect upon all aspects of life, and consider needs for confession and surrender.  Jesus prayed for our oneness:

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.  –John 17:20-23

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

2 Comments on “Singing Worship as One”

  1. wayne Says:

    inspiring to read! thank you. i needed this on a wednesday!

  2. Mohamet Says:

    This forum needed shnikag up and you’ve just done that. Great post!

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