“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” — Col. 3:16
Can we be honest about something right now, just you, the congregant, and me, the worship leader? Can we finally admit what we’ve all been thinking, basically every Sunday morning ever? Can we just talk as friends and not dance around this thing that we’ve both been wanting to say for quite some time?
Ok. Here it goes:
Worship is silly.
Man, do I feel better. Don’t you? Now that we’ve got that out there in the open, I think we can actually talk about this issue and finally get on the same page.
Sunday morning worship — all the lights and drums and guitars and what not — feels completely nonsensical. When I sit down and think about it, I’m finding that I want to ask the question “What good is this doing?” Consider that worship doesn’t feed the hungry or home the homeless. Worship doesn’t give money to the poor or help support world missions. It doesn’t directly evangelize or preach the gospel. It doesn’t heal the sick or raise the dead. If you step back and look at it for what it is, Sunday morning worship is just physics, mere sound waves bouncing off the walls and filling our ears with nonsense.
So the next question that begs itself to be answered is, why does God call us to worship?
To be clear, when I say “worship” I’m not talking about righteous living. I’m not talking about giving to the poor or going on missions trips. While those things are certainly part of God’s call to worship Him, there’s no getting around the fact that we’re called to sing. The Psalms are bursting with calls to worship, urging us to make a joyful noise, to play our instruments skillfully, and to sing praises to our God. Absolutely, we are called to gather together and praise the Lord with song.
So what good does it do, then, to sing and make fools of ourselves every Sunday morning?
Consider this text I received from my wife the other day:
Those things she thanked me for are a big part of being a good husband because I believe that men are supposed to love their wives through service. Husbands love through service by working hard every day to provide and care for their wives.
But what if that’s all I ever did? What if all I ever did was work for her? What if I only showed her love by helping with the dishes and keeping the kids distracted? I think most would say that our love wouldn’t be complete and that our marriage needs some work. A marriage of servitude without passion isn’t a good marriage because complete love requires affection.
Marriage isn’t the only place we see the balance of service and affection. What good am I to my best friend if I spend time conversing with him, but don’t tell him that he is just that — my best friend? He would never have the joy of knowing that we share an exclusive bond reserved for few others. What good am I to my children if I provide for them and discipline them but never shower them with affection? They might grow up to lead good lives, but they would never know the joy of being loved by their father.
It’s no different with God. While, yes, God has called us to worship Him through service and sacrifice, God is a person and wants to be loved as a person. He wants to be known just as we want to be known. He wants to be loved just as we want to be loved.
Most of us want to take worship and make it one thing or the other — service or affection — but we cannot, for worship is both of those things, and our relationship with God is complete only when we love Him with both our lives and our adoration. We cannot forget that while we, the church, are his body that works out His will on earth, we are also His bride, and He has called us to love Him with affectionate passion.
And that means we need to sing. God calls us to sing because He knows that without praise, we can never love Him completely. Our love and relationship with Him will never be fully realized without showing Him the affection that He certainly deserves.
So this Sunday, let’s sing, you and I. Let’s be silly. Let’s make fools of ourselves and fully realize what it means to love the Lord.