In the style of my previous questions on prayer, here are some questions I have about worship, especially in a time where worship "renewal" is loudly proclaimed.
- Is worship a response to God's presence, or does it conjure up God's presence(may I coin a phrase- "Alladin's lamp worship"...)?
- Does the genre or style of worship in the body of Christ necessarily have anything to do with the level of grace, abundance, and love practiced by the body of Christ?
- Does the grace, abundance, and love adminstered by God diminish or increase because of the wrongness or rightness of a body's worship?
- In what ways does the contemporary worship movement remind us of the mainstream music industry with its hype, glitz, over-marketing, vapid lyrics, perfect-looking people, overpriced concert tickets, artlessness for popularity's sake, god-like status of performers, corporate control, and massive profits?
- Are we repelled by stylistic/creative worship elements simply because we're not used to them?
- Is "relevance" best indicated by stylistic points of church worship and culture, or by the pervasiveness of a Gospel that is preached and incarnated in such a way that access to the Father's love and blessing is denied to no one, implicitly or explicitly?
- Would a body that is authentically worshipping God necessarily be compelled to address issues of justice among the poor and rejected?
- Would a person that is authentically worshipping God necessarily be compelled to address problems of unforgiveness and bitterness in their life?
- Is it more important that worshippers serve God, or that God serves them?
- To one worshipping authentically, does it matter how long ago a worship song was written?
- Is it okay to mentally critique another's worship, while in a worshipping group?(I suspect it happens rather often, if my mental processes are anything like the norm)
- How does the Biblical phrase "I desire mercy, not sacrifice" apply to our worship experience in the body of Christ?
- Which is primary: the experience a body has while worshipping God, or the fact that God receives worship?
- Does God "come down" because our worship has been good(read: on fire, emotional, loud, hip, relevant)?
- What does it indicate that 90% of our worship songs get us fired up about our love for God, and 10% of them get us fired up about God's love for us?
- Is worship more liberated simply because it adheres to fewer traditions or customs, or because it looks different? Is worship less free simply because everyone in the group is conforming to an accepted model?
- Could it ever do us any good to....hold on tight now.....stop worshipping God and just think about God's devotion to us, or even beg complete stillness of mind and body?
I find that there's a lot of evaluating going on in and among churches, and I wonder if the right questions are being addressed. With the way we often talk, I sometimes wonder if church-people have totally forgotten what is at the root of renewal, authentic worship, and abundance of whatever shade a given church espouses. My sum-up-all question could go something like this:
- In what ways are we acting as if the Immanuel Gift and the Resurrection reality are dependent on our spiritual performance?
Ask it of yourself even more emphatically in situations where everyone's looking. I guess we're looking at the same old problems as ever. Thus making the (underpreached) Gospel ever-timeless, ever-relevant, ever-necessary, and ever-central.