For the last couple of years, I’d been hung up on the point of worship. I didn’t really enjoy it anymore, because I didn’t understand why we were doing it.
Three years ago, I wrote a post titled “Three Views of Worship,” and while I don’t necessarily disagree with what I wrote, it left me with a lingering question: who is worship for?
If worship was for our benefit, why don’t we sing songs that are a better reflection of what we’re actually feeling rather than always talking about how good and wonderful everything is? What about the suffering, anger and loss that we experience? Why not also express those feelings in our songs?
And if worship was for God’s benefit, what kind of God is He, really? It seems quite selfish to create us and demand for us to lavish him with songs every Sunday morning.
Writing these arguments out now, it seems a little funny that I was so hung up on this issue, and I’m able to see some pretty serious flaws in that way of thinking. But, fortunately, I had a minor breakthrough a few months back.
We were staying at my in-laws’ house and my niece and nephew were there with us. Before we left to go to church, I noticed a little scrap of paper on the counter. It said something like “I lov you gradnpa” in what was clearly my niece’s crude, 5-year-old handwriting. Something clicked for me.
Worship, much like that handwritten, misspelled note, is our attempt to express the deep affection we have for God. My in-laws know that my niece loves them – she didn’t need to pen that note. But she felt compelled to. And God, much like my in-laws, doesn’t demand such tributes from us, but he unquestionably delights in them – I’ll bet that scrap of paper wasn’t tossed out with the other similarly scribbled-upon scraps (at least not intentionally).
I don’t know that this “epiphany” is especially profound, but it had a profound effect on me.
The video at the top of this post is one of my current favorite worship songs – it’s two years old, so it’s not new, but my good friend, Ryan Eichelberger (who I hope will write a guest post or two here on the blog) led it at Wheatland a couple of weeks ago. It was quite a touching moment for our little community.