I didn’t quite exhaust everything I had to say about worship yesterday. So here are a few more random thoughts:
(1) Worship needs to be both traditional and contemporary. Not either-or but both-and. By traditional I mean we honor the great treasure of scripture, music, and prayer that has been passed down to us from our ancestors in the faith. By contemporary, I means the service needs to make sense to the worshipers. It needs to reach people where they live, here and now.
(2) Worship needs to be both transcendent and “earthy”. In worship we are lifted, as Isaiah was lifted, high above our everyday concerns as we enter God’s mysterious, majestic, otherworldly realm. At the same time, worships relates to the nitty gritty of our daily lives. Howard Thurman said, “We come to worship with the smell of life on us.” God is never so exalted and remote as to be unconcerned about you and me even in the the little things that feel like big things that we deal with day by day.
(3) Worship needs to be innovative and routine. We do need patterns in our worship that are regular and dependable. We need to know some of our songs by heart so we can take them home with us and we can’t do that if we sing new songs every week. But if everything is predictably the same week after week, we become mindless in our worship. We need the refreshment that comes from the new, including new songs. After all the old ones used to be new. Someone gave them a chance.
Thanks for caring about worship. It is important. And your presence adds so much.