I’ve mentioned in the previous posts in this series that I’m in the process of re-shaping my whole paradigm of worship. J.R. Miller left a comment that highlights an important point here, and one that deserves clarifying. Here’s a quote from his comment:
“The emphasis I get then is, not that you are seeking tear down what others are doing or what many enjoy, but seeking to “worship” through music in new and diverse ways.”
It really deserves to be emphasized here that in no way would I devalue the act of singing corporately to God, nor would I bash worship leaders. After all…I are one. 🙂 This journey is about expanding my understanding of worship, not replacing one theology for another. I’ve encountered God many times in the corporate worship environment, as have many others. Just because the modern-day worship leader is historically a new concept does not mean God does not use it. It simply means it isn’t the only form of expression where worship is concerned.
I should also mention here that I do not downplay the role of music in worship. It’s too much to share in this post…but I believe from the Scriptures that music pre-dates man, and that music was actually created to help evoke worship. That’s why we use it that way; it is definitely conducive to worship. However…music is not worship. Singing is not worship. Worship is a response of the heart, and someone can do all the “worship things” and not be worshiping.
I think what has prompted my search for something more is simply that I know that no matter how wonderful any expression might seem to us…anything can become religious. Anything. All it really takes for a form to become religious is for us to lose our perspective and begin exalting that form as sacred for its own sake in our hearts. When we take changeable methods and begin to mistake them for unchangeable principles…that is when our methods become religious. That’s how the proverbial “sacred cow” is formed.
As I continue in this deconstruction process, I guess I’ve come to realize how much of a sacred cow this form of worship had become in my own life and ministry. Despite all my rantings against religion–I myself was becoming religious about my particular flavor of worship. And so, without removing it completely as a method, I seek to put it back into proper perspective. And the proper perspective is…the worship leader form is only a method. It is a method that is neither mandated by Scripture, nor prohibited by Scripture. There are other, weightier things I must take into account as a worshiper. And there are other ways to release our worship that deserve to be explored. And in doing this, I believe it will make it all the sweeter when I do participate in corporate worship. It will mean something more to me than it does currently, because it will be in proper balance.
That’s what I think, anyway. 🙂