Friday, August 24, 2018

Corporate worship: More than the music

One of the traps we can fall into when thinking of corporate worship is to equate worship with music. It is not unusual to hear someone talk about how powerful or awesome the worship was in his or her church the previous Sunday. You know that person is essentially referring to the music. Evangelical churches also commonly refer to the primary musician as the worship leader. That person might be the worship leader, if he does more than lead music. Or he might be just the lead musician who is hopefully helping the congregation worship in song.

Congregational singing is vital. It reflects the truth our church has expressed and practiced for the last 20 years -- corporate worship is for participants, not spectators. It is a way we express adoration, confession, thanksgiving, lament, submission and intercession. It is a way we proclaim together the church's ancient faith.

Singing as a church is not, however, all there is to corporate worship. It is an aspect of worship.

We also worship as a church in reading God’s Word aloud in unison or responsively, in listening to the reading of His Word, in declaring praises to God out loud or in the quietness of our hearts and minds, in praying verbally or silently, in reading common confessions of faith together, in paying attention to the prayers of others, in listening to the preaching of the Word, in responding in obedience to the work of the Spirit through the Word, and in encouraging, serving and loving one another.

A biblical understanding of our corporate gathering calls for us to engage in worship in all the ways God intends. May we “sing with the spirit and . . . with the mind,” as I Cor. 14:15 says, but may we also worship in “spirit and truth” (John 4:23).

(This is a revised version of a previous post.)

-- Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

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