Worship Is Not An Individual Pursuit

This post by Sean Palmer starts off with quite a statement:

There’s nothing the church does so wonderfully and terribly as singing.

But Sean’s not just trying to pick a fight. He’s making a good point about the “individualization” of worship music. Too often we make it about ourselves as individuals, when the focus should be on God:

Don’t believe me? Do you know anyone who left their church because of a change in “worship?” In truth, these changes are barely changes in worship. Most churches still celebrate the Eucharist, engage sermons, sing, pray, and – sadly – have announcements. What changes is the singing! And the reason people leave over “worship” is because they know longer “like” the singing…

And part of our focus should also be on serving one another.

There are songs I hate, like “Amazing Grace.” I’ve never liked it, but I know “Amazing Grace” is tremendously meaningful for others. A friend recently shared with me the place of the song “Amazing Grace” in the recovery movement. The song means a great deal for members of AA and other recovery groups. Those folks are in my church. As a spiritual discipline, I can sing that song – though I despise it – on their behalf. I sing, therefore, not because it’s efficacious for me, but those around me.

I disagree about “Amazing Grace” – I love that song. But that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?

If only we could turn our focus outward, Sean says, we could really and truly praise God:

We have to ask ourselves serious questions about the nature of who we worship for when we walk out of common worship upset with God-directed music and lyrics, regardless of whether or not the praise team was “singing our tune.” If corporate singing were a spiritual discipline God would be at the center of it and in God’s presence, humankind has always simply bowed.

This is a great post and I highly recommend reading the whole thing. Really good stuff.

There’s also a great line from Rich Mullins in there, too.

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