Thursday, March 25, 2010

An Offering of Worship

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1, NIV)
I love that verse because it reminds us to think about worship in much broader terms that we often do. I cringe every time I hear people say “worship” when they only mean music, or a feeling interpreted as a sign of the nearness of God (usually evoked by a certain type of music). Romans 12:1 teaches us that worship is not a state of human emotion but an act of sacrifice … and not about receiving but about giving. Worship is about offering up whatever we do, 24/7, to God as a sacrifice.

If you read these things (and I know that some don’t), you know I’ve been reading Harold Best’s Music through the Eyes of Faith lately. Here’s how Best unpacks this truth for us who make music in church.
… for the true Christian, all of life, not just fractions of it, is a continuum of action upon action, faithfully and knowingly made into offering after offering. Therefore, all things done, whatever they comprise – all work, all handiwork, all of everything – can only be one act of worship after another. (p. 149) …

The issue is not whether the music has merit or power, but whether the worshipers are making an offering. If they can’t worship until the right music comes by (and what if it doesn’t?), then they are essentially preferring the gift to the giver, or making God’s presence contingent on the quality or effect of the gift. (p. 150) …

Being moved by music is secondary to worshiping God. The Spirit is always free to direct our worship, whether the music moves us or not. It is only when being moved by music is coupled to a preceding passion for God that we are truly moved. (p. 152) …

Aesthetic excitement, at whatever level and from whatever source, is as much a part of being human as loving is. Ecstasy is, in itself, an offerable act. So instead of assuming that worship is the same as ecstasy, we must assume that if we do become ecstatic, this emotion itself is to be offered up as an act of worship, instead of being substituted for or equated with it. The danger lies in assuming that ecstasy is a prerequisite of worship or equal to it. Aesthetic ecstasy is, quite simply, aesthetic ecstasy. The importance of aesthetic ecstasy for the worshiper is that it should take place within an already ecstatic heart, made that way by the overwhelming love of God, whether music is present or not. (p. 152)
That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home