LOOKING FOR BALANCE
“Then Ezra blessed the Lord the great God, and all the people said AMEN, AMEN!! While lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground” (Neh. 8:6)
Louis Giglio defines worship as “our response, both personal and corporate, to God for who He is, and what He has done; expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live”. John Piper expands on this thought by saying “We don’t come to God in worship with a basketful of gifts to give Him. We come often with arms full of brokenness, failure, disappointment, discouragement…and in worship God begins the process of healing our hurts as we focus on HIS sufficiency.” Notice in both of these instances “style” is not an issue…the attitude of the heart is the most important thing.
There seem to be 3 schools of thought concerning corporate worship. Worship should either be:
UPWARD- with a sense of holiness and a “proper” liturgical approach to the Almighty,
OUTWARD- with great celebration, joy, participation and exuberance OR
INWARD- reflective, quiet, introspective and humble
In Nehemiah 8 we see all three perspectives simultaneously! There was an OUTWARD expression (“AMEN, AMEN!!”), an UPWARD expression (“ while lifting their hands”) and an INWARD expression (“they bowed low”) as God’s people worshipped Him.
When I was young my family loved to gather around the piano and sing hymns or carols together. Each of us had our favorites, and we sang them ALL during those times. As a church we need to remember that we are a family, and we need to appreciate various expressions of worship so that each family member will be able to communicate with God in their language. Sincere worship is a response; an emptying of oneself of pride and selfishness, and an affirmation that HE is sufficient when we are hurting and empty. One important aspect of corporate worship is pray for the people around us, because we don’t know the spiritual battles they may be facing, or the heart -wrenching challenges with which they are dealing. Balanced worship is coming to the Father with our pain and failure, while lifting up others for whom God’s adequacy is totally sufficient.
THOUGHT: “Blessed are the balanced.” Warren Wiersbe
(Adapted from MEDITATIONS FOR MUSICIANS, available on Amazon)