Preoccupation with the Point

Here I am, wanting to write a blog entry, and I get sidetracked as to what I want to TITLE it before I’ve written one word of the actual blog. Perhaps that’s indicative of something else going on inside me: preoccupation with titles, words, namings…

You see, I read an article this morning that was written by a fairly well known Christian author, one whose name is connected with the post-modern/emergent movement in the US. He had some interesting things to say about worship, and the need for a different focus. He mentions his frustration with the “me and Jesus” theme which runs through so much of current worship (especially the “me” part), and calls for new worship music with the following themes:
1. Biblical pictures of God’s preferred future – HOPE
2. Kingdom of God priorities – MISSION
3. Historic Christian spirituality – DEPTH
4. God as primary focus – THEOCENTRIC
5. Songs expressing sorrow that we experience – LAMENT

That’s the recap of the article, and while I enjoyed reading it, it was a little surreal. You see, I’ve been saying these things to Jami for years, and working them out in the songs I sing for private worship. I enjoy writing music, but I’m not a big fan of my own lyrics. I appreciate much more going through old hymnals and looking for lyrics that strike me in some way and then writing new music for the older words. I even had a website for a term I thought I’d coined: Convergent Worship (I’ve since let it go).

The point of this: it was a bit weird to see my thoughts that I’d been working through for so long in print by this other author. I find it comforting to know that I’m not the only one that has been grappling with these issues. In a moment of transparency, I’ll also admit that it’s a bit frustrating that I wasn’t able to get those same thoughts “out there” for others to work with years ago. Jami has teased me on more than one occasion that the next time I see a “trend” that I think the Church will be dealing with in the next ten years, that I need to write a book about it first before anyone else…!

Last night, a group of musicians got together at my church to jam. Note that we didn’t get together to rehearse; there was no set music, no specific agenda other than to enjoy one another’s company and to perhaps stretch our musical muscles a bit. Since most of us who gathered are pretty “churched”, the songs we used to start things off were worship songs (hence the preoccupation with themes of worship today). I think we could take this little group and incorporate it into Sunday morning worship with a few more rehearsals. But the point of the group isn’t to specifically create something to ADD to Sunday morning services.

The POINT of worship, the REASON for worship is God.

That’s it.

God.

Creating additional worship elements for the congregation misses the point entirely. All of us – musicians, lay leaders, pastors, choir members, and people in the congregation – are to be working together to craft worship for GOD, not for our own benefit. Of course as we worship, as we lift up God and reaffirm the Lord’s place on the throne of the Universe (and our own lives), we *will* benefit from it… but receiving the benefit isn’t the point.

*God* is the point.

As Jami and I prepare for the annual meeting of the National Association of Congregationalist Christian Churches, the two of us will be leading one of the main sessions of worship on Monday morning. I want to be sure that we are not the focus of that worship service; that GOD alone receives the worship, praise, attention, focus, adoration.

In the words of the Reformers: Soli Deo Gloria!

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