Reflections on Worship

I’ve been reflecting on worship lately, and I’ve got to say that I’m fairly disappointed with a majority of the songs currently ‘in fashion’ within the circles that I frequent, and I’ve been disappointed with a large portion of our culture’s view of worship full stop.

Let’s cover the songs first:
One of the big things I’ve noticed is a total lack of depth (and breadth) in a lot of modern worship. One of today’s biggest Christian songwriting groups is Hillsong and, while I don’t want to get into my opinions on Hillsong’s theology here, I have to say that their songs are kind of samey. They have a couple of gems, but most of their songs only really talk about the love of God, and some of them on the most shallow of levels. Don’t get me wrong, God’s love is a great thing to sing about, but that’s not the only thing that we should sing about. One of the songs I’ve really been getting into recently is a song called ‘Audience of One’ – which talks about the idea that the only thing we can give that truly honors God is our lives, and that His majesty is worth praising. That’s a far cry from the songs that go ‘Lord, thanks that you loved me enough to do this and this and this’, isn’t it?

And while depth is not needed all the time (cause, as some of my lectures put it, worship with less depth are more accessable to non (or newer) Christians); there is definitely a problem with worship songs that sound like someone wrote a song about how much they love their boyfriend/girlfriend, then removed all mention of said significant other, and tacked a few Jesus’ in. I look back at some of the Hymns (and other songs from before about 1980ish) and lament at how far Christian songwriting has fallen (mostly).

There are quite a few gems out there (see anything by Matt Redman for example), but finding them can be a real challenge in the sea of shallow, samey, songs.

Moving on to the views of worship, I have some issues with the idea that worship is only singing songs. Singing songs on a sunday is merely one aspect of worship. Paul talks about offering up our bodies as living sacrifices (basically, living wholly for Christ) as our spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1-2). Worship is NOT coming to church on a sunday and singing a few songs, Worship is the daily act of living for Christ and Christ alone. It’s a heart matter, not just actions – your heart needs to be willing to say ‘Jesus, everything I do is for You’. That’s worship!. My writing this blog post is an act of Worship, when a believer dances, sings, writes poetry or even paints it is an act of Worship, going to work/school/uni is an act of Worship, because when you do these things (or indeed anything) as a living sacrifice, that is the only way that you can ever Worship God.

Something to think about, hey?

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Worship

The worship in College chapel was awesome today! One of the things that had a great impact on me was the change they made to the song ‘In Christ alone’ – they changed all of the words with a personal outlook to words with a communal outlook (“my” to “our”, “me” to “us”, etc). There’s something amazing and awe-inspiring about 150+ people all singing the words “In Christ alone, our hope is found. He is our light, our strength, our song”. For me, it changed what is normally a very ‘me focused’ song into a triumphant battle cry, and one that I think many churches need.

Aside from this, the worship was generally a recall for me to surrender my life to God, which I willingly and wholeheartedly did. The missional focus of the worship also served to affirm some ideas that I’ve been throwing around my head (along with some serious prayer), and will most likely tell you all about when I’m good and ready.