Wait till I tell you about my crumby weekend, but for now I'm trying to turn my thoughts to higher and more excellent things. . .
Pastor Al pointed me toward this thought-provoking CT interview
with Keith and Kristyn Getty, the authors of In Christ Alone
and other modern hymns. The whole article is worth the read, but here were a couple of paragraphs that jumped out at me. . .
The radical thing is that in the Old Testament, everybody came together and sang. And in the New Testament, the Jew and the Gentile, the Greek and the Roman, the young and the old all came together and sang together. That's the witness of church history. It's not some kind of food court where everyone chooses their favorite music and goes that direction.
I agree with this. . . that when we chop up our worship and give everybody exactly what they want in consumeristic "worship venues", much is lost. We're trying to do it different at Grace. I've said if often, "Learning to worship together is learning to live the Gospel together." (Philippians 2). In our consumeristic day, its not necessarily the quickest way to grow the biggest church, but it will continue to be our way.
Paul told persecuted churches to get together and teach and admonish one another and sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. There's no intellectual reason to do that; there's no church- growth reason to do that. It's a command, because that is the radical thing.
Worship is a radical thing! I'm convinced we come at it wrongly so much of the time, wanting what we want, thinking about what's in it for me instead of what's in it for God, we think too much about the people up front instead of our own hidden person inside and the Person above and all around, the Real Audience of One.
When we gather, do you ever have that sense of awe that this is an incredibly diverse group who are worshiping together? Its a beautiful thing. Its a challenging thing. No one gets everything they want. Every week, some walk out upset and others dissatisfied because worship didn't look and feel like they think it should. Regularly people come to me and express their dissatisfaction with our worship. But hopefully God is glorified and honored by our attempts at unity and Gospel living.
I am weekly aware that what we are trying to do is counter-cultural and swimming up stream. I often ask what our worship at Grace will look like 10 years from now. I'm not sure I know, but I know it will look different, because our congregation will look different in 10 years.
BTW, do you like the "Thoughts on our Worship Together. . . " section of our worship folder. Do you read it? Did you even know it was there?
And while you're at it, if you have any thoughts on the "Pastor Tim's questions for Young People" stuff I included last Sunday, let me have them.