Posts Tagged ‘Worship’

Manufacturing Worship

Quote of the day:

Much Protestant worship consists of a desperate attempt to make it look as if something significant is transpiring. Christians come to services wanting to sense the presence of God and expecting the clergy and musicians whom they employ to produce “worship experiences” that make faith seem alive. Sincere intentions are seldom sufficient to guarantee success, and they leave as they came – hungry and vaguely burdened with guilt.

– A. Daniel Frankforter, Stones for Bread

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Random Musings on Worship

Last night, our church had a New Year Eve’s service that we couldn’t attend because we were out of town. However, with FaceTime, I was able to virtually be a part of the gathering. Of course, this disembodied experience wasn’t quite the same, but nevertheless I enjoyed the virtual worship experience and was thankful to “participate” in it.

I was unable to sleep well, and so, as I lay restlessly in bed, thoughts about worship came to mind; in particular, these words popped up:


This got me thinking about how we can improve and innovate. Specifically, I would like to see our church form a “liturgical design team” so that every worship meeting can be more intentional, integrative and imaginative.

While I do not doubt that there is a lot of prayer, thought and planning that goes into the sermon and the choice of songs, I am talking about the holistic view of the entire meeting in its formative, transformative and performative aspects. I intend to expand and clarify on these and other points in future posts, but for now, I want to encourage my church to embrace a “thicker” theology and practice of worship. Though my ecclesial background has been Baptist, Brethren and simple/NT/house church, I am opening my mind to learn about and embrace some aspects of traditional liturgical practices as long as long as they don’t compromise my core biblical convictions.

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When the Spirit Moves

As I got back from out of town too late for church, I decided to join the Korean worship after lunch.

From the opening welcome to the closing benediction, I sensed the presence and power of the Spirit. It did not matter that I couldn’t understand a word, I was moved by the entire experience. What did I enjoy about it, in particular?

  • the energy and enthusiasm of the singing; it’s not just that there are some gifted singers, it’s the effusive emotion and the participation of the whole congregation
  • the passionate preaching and prayers (not just by the pastor) – there was some earnest pleading with God and with the congregation!
  • the responsive (and substantial) reading of scripture
  • the occasional “call and response” during the preaching

I am not sure how much of this is cultural, but I didn’t care – I needed to be stirred up and I certainly was!

Then, as a bonus, I was invited to their “agape meal” afterwards for a sweet time of fellowship.

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Getting in Tune

The truth is many of us walk into worship not quite ready to worship. We need a little time to center and focus ourselves. Some of us are frustrated with our kids. Some are disheartened about our work. Some are stressed about the demands of school or the deadlines of our jobs. Others are depressed or apathetic about life. Yet others are fearful, distraught, or mourning. Weekly worship calls us back into a story with the emotional highs and lows of sin and salvation, so we all need to recalibrate.

—Zac Hicks, Lord, Tune My Heart for Worship


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Make a Joyful Noise

Today I sang in the church choir again. To be honest, I don’t know how to sing, let alone sing the bass part of today’s hymn. I never intended to be part of the choir, but I am not good at saying “No”; I just want to serve, do something, do anything. One day, I will be able to use what God has gifted me in some small measure, but for now, I am happy to help in any way I can. This is a miracle, this new attitude of mine, and I can’t take any credit for this change.

But I can’t sing. I’ve never ever sang in a choir before (other than once several weeks ago; I thought it was going to be a one-time thing).

I felt quite discouraged for the rest of the worship service.

But then I thought of Col. 3:16: “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” (NLT)

Later, I providentially came across this article, Your Church Needs to Hear You Sing, in which the author asks, “Do you love the members of your church enough to minister to them through song?” Well, yes .. but, but .. I can’t sing! Anyhow, while the writer focuses on the vital importance of congregational singing, still, I suppose, singing in the choir is another opportunity to worship God and to (hopefully) edify my brothers and sisters.

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All I See

The lyrics provide much food for thought:

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