My friend Kirk Henderson is a jaw-droppingly talented musician. After thirty years listening to some of the finest musicians on the planet for a living, there are few musical things that make my jaw drop.
He chose to use those talents almost exclusively in church worship until his desire to help people as a counselor led him back to school. He is now an adjunct professor teaching General Psychology, Human Development, and Abnormal Psychology at Delgado Community College and a Christian counselor at Milestone Christian Counseling. He’s no lightweight.
So, when Kirk talks about powerful worship my ears perk up. He posted about it on Facebook this morning. The interesting thing to me is that he never mentioned music. Here’s a sample:
Jesus spent his entire preaching ministry communicating to earthly human beings about God’s divine kingdom…about spiritual truths. He even did so in this passage in John 4, telling this woman about living water….as opposed to earthly water. Why did He do this? Because before there was the finite, there was the infinite. Before there was creation, there was Eternity. The spiritual dimension is preeminent over all earthly things. This does not mean that earthly and natural is bad….Jesus Himself is at once fully Divine and fully human. What it does mean is that true worship should not be offered to anything earthly or created, but to the One who is uncreated…. Kirk Henderson
We live in a time when the need to worship, that desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves, is replaced with fan worship and product worship and celebrity worship at every store check out line. Commercials, movies and TV shows use our hard-wired needs to milk us of cash and disappoint us. I could go on here but you get it.
Even in churches the “worship” time often consists of half-hearted attempts at singing along with a “music minister” unsure of the words, the melody and ourselves.
In Jesus’ time they argued about where to worship, as if God could be contained in a single place and somehow favored one geographic location over another.
But when Jesus needed to pray He headed for the desert, not because of the beauty but because of the privacy. He suggested we pray in secret to God who knows our secret places. The attraction was distraction-free time with God.
I’m not against worship together in church. I’ve enjoyed some beautiful and inspiring times there. I’ve sung, played and led worship.
But I will say if you need a certain type of music, a certain talented leader, a certain volume level, particular songs, specific instruments, a certain sub-woofer or musical style to worship God, you might not actually be worshipping God.
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth. ~ Jesus, to a woman at a well in the northern West Bank. John 4;23-24 (NIV)