Rescuing Worship from Music and the Church

Today I’m on a rescue mission and I need your help. Worship is missing and we must find her.

I know, I know, I was as surprised as you. After all, we see her every Sunday, right? Some of us see her on Wednesdays and Saturdays too, so why can’t we find her on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays? In Dayton, OH and beyond, her freedom has been compromised. Truth is, she’s always been vulnerable to neglect, infidelity, and imprisonment (John 4:22-24). I found out she’s been trapped by the church, “worship music”, and even by us.

As you know, worship is so precious, normally present in the "thin spaces". Recently, however, the church has relegated her to weekly service. In many churches, the mindset has changed. There used to be an emphasis on finding her throughout our days, but lately, the focus has shifted to inviting us to attend worship (normally on Sundays). But she’s not a museum exhibit. Since worship changes who we are and strengthens the connection we have with God, wouldn’t it be nice to hold that perspective throughout our week?

“Worship music” has tied her up too, hasn’t it? In Scripture, she’s mentioned 188 times, but only seven, or 3.7%, refer to song or praise. So why is it that today people speak of her as if she can only be coaxed out by playing the right tune? As if those skilled with their "pungi flutes" know something we don’t? They've taken a small piece of Scripture and made a large mural in their own image. Scripture says the very fabric of our lives should be worship. Sure, there are times when we immerse ourselves in music and find our hearts refreshed in a new way, but our connection to her should be pervasive. Wouldn’t it be great if we could find her outside the confines of music?

I’m sorry, I don’t mean to implicate you too, but if you speak of her as something you go to (Are you going to worship this Sunday?), as an event that has already occurred (Wasn’t the worship fantastic this week?), or as a type of music (Do you like worship music?) then, well, you’re keeping her locked up, too. Until you change your thinking about her, she’ll be confined in your life to music and services.

This is no small matter, Jesus spoke of those who will engage worship in spirit and in truth. Somehow Jesus and His disciples worshipped without a Sunday service or “worship music”. They knew that worship’s driven by the heart, not music, services, obligation or rules.

So will you help me find her? She’s within your reach. Right now. At this moment. She’s waiting for you discover her in the present, eager to usher you into an encounter with Christ. You don’t need a service to find her, a worship song, or even a quiet place. Simply start seeking her day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment in the nooks and crannies of your life. Sometimes it's not easy to find her, but when we do, we find that it wasn’t her that needed rescuing, it was us.