who is big and who is small?
Worship seems to be a hot topic these days, especially in the church. Do we sing hymns or the latest song? Do we stand or sit? Do we use imagery and lighting? Contemporary? Traditional? Postmodern? Where does CBC stand on these issues? Where SHOULD CBC stand on these issues?
But worship isn’t about any of these things, is it? Not at all. In fact, worship is completely detached from all of these things. We could have three different services with three different atmospheres using three different methods, and still worship could be absent from them all. Why? Because worship doesn’t inhabit a method. It’s an attitude of my heart.
So the question begs to be asked, “What is worship?” Is it a certain type of music or presentation in church? Is it a preaching style? People have come up with all kinds of modern and clever definitions, but it really boils down to two things: Revelation and Response. Revelation of who God is and who I am, then responding to that revelation. I believe that when God reveals to me His majesty and His glory along with the devastated nature of my depravity, then the response is both immediate and passionate.
We see this all throughout the Bible. God showed Moses His glory, and Moses hid his face and worshiped (Exodus 33). God showed His power to the prophets of Baal, and they fell down and worshiped (1st Kings 18). Isaiah saw the Lord, he said, “Woe is me!” and he worshiped (Isaiah 6). These people saw His glory contrasted by their depravity, and they immediately worshiped.
But our problem in the American church is that we rarely get past revelation. I no more understand the vastness and glorious splendor of an Almighty God than I understand the hideous saturation of my own depravity. So when I spiritually stagger into a worship service, I find myself trying to force my soul to give some type of response simply because it’s Sunday morning. Then if I don’t engage the Savior, I tend to blame the music, the preaching or even the temperature of the room instead of searching my own sinful heart. I’m like the man in the picture who thinks he can contain the sun. It’s a problem with perception. His perception of the sun and himself is way off, and now he’s got it backwards.
Brennen Manning says that true worshipers “do not complain about the feeble preaching and the lifeless music in their local church.” True worshipers engage the heart of God regardless of their circumstances or environment. Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of Jesus Christ giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” That’s worship! It’s honoring God with my gifts and talents. It’s honoring God with my attitude. It’s honoring God with my finances and my time. It’s honoring God with every part of my life because that’s what this God deserves.
When I live Colossians 3:17 I honor God well in all places and at all times, even when I sleep! This means that when I come to church on Sunday morning, I will have been worshiping God all week in every aspect of my life from eating with my family to mowing my yard. So when the “worship service” starts, the style of music and method of preaching are totally irrelevant because God has revealed my depravity in the midst of His majesty, and my worship flows immediately and passionately.
But I’m still a sinner who is blinded by my own pride and arrogance, so I need to daily beg God to reveal His incomprehensible glory to me. I need to daily beg God to reveal my own vile wretchedness to me. Then my response, my WORSHIP, will flow naturally.
Our goal for CBC is not to have a great music ministry. Our goal is that this church family will be full of passionate adorers of a glorious and terrifying God who loves us from the weightiness of His glory in the midst of the ugliness of our depravity. Our goal is that our people will be living Colossians 3:17 every moment of every day from the crucible of the realization that this uncontainable God is very, very big, and we are very, very small.
-clark terry, worship and community pastor