Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Worship Dilemma

So, there's something I've been noticing that I really think needs to be addressed beyond the "grumble to peer" medium and that's the self focus of much of the modern worship songs sung in churches today.

Now, I'm not talking about something along the lines of this video, but it does provide an exaggerated counterpoint.

What I am seeing more often from a number of services, particularly youth- and young adult-aimed services, is a prevalence of pop music which praises God in relation to self. We praise God for what He's doing to/with/for us. When we're praying, we praise God for how He's never left us instead of for his unending faithfulness. It's a subtle difference, but it makes an impact.

There are far too few songs that worship God for being God, for His attributes. We don't find many new songs extolling God for His omnipotence, fidelity, righteousness, or justice and what few we do are, more often than not, calls to worship where the song is encouraging the church to come and praise God because of who He is. Still, though, the focus is less on God and more on the call to worship.

What do I suggest, then? I suggest we return to the theology-rich, thoughtful poetry of hymns. I'm not saying we need to sit through piano, organ, and choir droning on at a trudging pace, but rather that we return to poetic song that praises God for God, not for how He has moved in relation to us. Let us praise him with rich thought and intense vocabulary. Let our somnolent tongues become renewed as they extol the richness of God's nature itself, without constant allusion to the self.

Yes, there comes a time in which to praise God for what He has done with/to/for us, but that should not be the bulk of our praise, but a mere part.

To those churches I have attended which worship God for God and not for us, I thank you and encourage you to continue as you were.