In the past few weeks I've been trying to saturate myself in listening to preaching, teaching and overall just good things.
Today I have been watching some speakers from a worship conference. I feel as though I am passionate about worship. I would like to say that is because I am passionate about Jesus. I WANT to be passionate about Jesus. Sometimes the wanting and the actual passion are not in sync with one another. What is true, is that when I experience a congregation singing together in worship with passion it thrills my heart. It moves me and makes me feel deep, abiding joy. It doesn't even have to be our congregation. I watched a funeral service for someone I didn't know but whom I knew of and when the congregation sang together a song they knew very well and seemed to love, it moved my heart tremendously.
Now, I realize that worship is not JUST singing. It is whatever we do to give glory to God with our lives. For me, singing is my first language. I've been doing it since as long as I can remember and I can remember being 2 years old. My family drenched my life with music--rich, godly music. We had Christian radio on all day long. Our stereo was filled with gospel music of the day. When we rode in the car--we sang Christian hymns or other songs.
One of the teachers I heard earlier this week posited "what would it be like if we prepared for worship like we do for a college football game?" In my mind I imagined how cool it would be for us to gather in our church's parking lot for hours before the "service" and spent time hanging out together, eating great food together and anticipating our upcoming time of worship. Then when we came together in the sanctuary we would have formed a bond of genuine fellowship that would seem to be more than just all of us showing up haphazardly and filing in coming from all different mindsets.
Our church has been fortunate in the past couple years to host some amazing Christian concerts. I love to go to them and they are a fantastic experience. As I watch the people coming in and how full the church is for one of these things it makes me sad that we can't seem to fill our churches with that much enthusiasm and with that many people to hear the Word of God. My fear is that we don't get hungry for something for which we have tasted too little.
Today, the stuff I'm listening to is about passing on biblical values for corporate worship to the next generation. I don't think we've done a very good job of this. I want to do it better. Don't get me wrong--I love so much of the contemporary music we do. But I long for the richness in songs that I found in hymns from the biblical values that my parents passed down to me. There are so many great songs full of rich, deep, important theology out there for us to use. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that everyone else loves that as much as I do. We love to sing what we hear on the radio, but many of those do not translate well to congregational singing either in form, singability, or content. I personally feel that too many songs are what I've heard referred to as "boyfriend songs". You know, Jesus is my special friend, I love Him, He's done great things for me and He makes me feel great.
We need more corporate worship that tells us the story of God's great love and mercy along with how He rescued us from His great wrath because of our sin THROUGH His great love and mercy.
The speaker I'm listening to today is using Psalm 78 as a reference:
This is just a portion of the Psalm. Go read it for yourself.
It grieves me that I have failed too often to teach the truth of the Word of God to my children. I want to do better. Choosing songs of rich theology and truth is one way to start. So I've been filling up my own cup so that it overflows a bit better. And maybe, just maybe, the whole tailgating thing will catch on.