Another note on worship
The Heart of Worship
Late last year, I found myself in London on business for a couple of days. I arrived on Sunday afternoon and decided to attend the evening worship service at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, the church that the great baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, pastored in the late 19th century.
About halfway through the singing portion of the service, I noticed a man whom I assumed to be a fellow American Evangelical (he was dressed in bluejeans and a polo shirt) slip out the back of the auditorium. He did not return. Now I realize there could be a hundred reasons why he left. But I began to believe that he left because he shared the impression that I was feeling about the service.
I didn't like it.
The music was slow. There were no guitars, no drums, not even a piano. The accompanyment consisted of an old organ (it wasn't even a pipe organ!). It was boring.
I thought a lot about my feelings as I rode the underground back to my hotel in Westferry Circus, and I realized that the problem was one of two things: either the Metropolitan Tabernacle was deficient in orchestrating their service, or I was deficient in my worship of the Almighty God.
The people around me (and my fellow Amercian spectator) were not not overtaken by emotions, there were no spontaneous raisings of hands (in fact very little about the service could be described as spontaneous). But those people were engaged in worship, filled with the Holy Spirit, and I was looking at my watch.
That experience made me reconsider my attitude about worship music, because it is not just about enjoying the singers and musicians up front or the emotions that well-performed stirs up within me (I might experience the same emotions listening to secular music). It's about changing my focus to center on God and His Glory and praising Him.
I'm glad my church has a more contemporary sound in its worship music, but I now realize there is a hidden danger there. I must continually remind myself to focus on worship and not just the music. We have a God who demands and deserves our worship with our whole being.
soli Deo gloria