This summer, the youth at my church decided that we wanted to do worship. So far, we’ve sung and played on two Sundays. We’ll have one more before I leave for college.
As we’ve been preparing and practicing, we’ve noticed a lot of repetition in modern worship music. So much so that we’ve felt the need to supplement additional melody or musical changes.
After all, repeating You make beautiful things with minor variation can only do so much. Now, I don’t mean to say that repetition can’t be beneficial in worship. In fact, among our group, I was one who didn’t always find that monotonous.
Regardless, this has brought up within me questions of true worship. Do I truly worship God when I sing to Him? I was recently at camp again, and I was surprised to feel…almost nothing. I had memorized the songs, and I sang them. I knew my voice sounded pretty. I knew that the combination of the voices I could hear sounded even more beautiful in my ears. But I felt…nothing.
Then I heard something. A shout. At first, I thought someone was injured, and I waited a moment for a counselor to escort a camper to the nurse. Instead, I heard another shout. A cry. A yell.
One of the senior high campers that week was struggling, though I don’t know whether it was a mental or physical handicap. Regardless, I listened to him shout out to the living God. No shame. Nothing holding him back.
I thought to myself, In God’s ears, those shouts are probably more beautiful than my singing.
To us mortals, the boy was disruptive. It’s hard to keep track of the beauty of our own voices and music when someone’s heartfelt cries are echoing.
I am in no position to judge hearts. But I do wonder, because I wonder it of myself…
How often are our arms raised out of a genuine inability to keep them down, because the living God must be praised? Or are we raising them because others are raising them? Because the bridge of this song sounds powerful? Out of habit?
For those who are comfortable in their own voices, do we sing well because we want to bring glory to our God? Or because we like the sound of our voices among the others?
For those who are uncomfortable, do we sing loudly with no one to impress? Or do we keep ourselves quiet?
True worship is not singing. It doesn’t require a guitar. Music is powerful, and true worship can be experienced through music. But I think true worship would be to mean everything you sing to your Father; and then living it out because of your love for Him.
That’s my new goal for myself: just like love isn’t about feelings, worship shouldn’t be about feelings. Even when I feel nothing, I need to remember what I’ve declared to my God and act on it.