Week 5 Chronicles is an occasional series on experiments in worship formats.
Every church has its own worship style and tradition. Whatever form your expression of worship takes, I believe that true worship must be exuberant.
Because we serve a God of superlatives. His worth is matchless. And his sacrifice for us was extravagant. Romans 8:32 says this: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
Luke 15 portrays God as the prodigal Father, wasteful in his actions towards a son who had wished his father dead and who should have deserved the scorn of society.
If this is the God we serve, then I think this calls for a matching response in our worship and adulation.
This is what Mary did in Luke 7. She brought a sacrifice which many called wasteful.
David danced with all his might. His wife called him undignified.
When you worship extravagantly, the world notices. It elicits a response. Some will be inspired. Others will cast judgment. An extravagant sacrifice is polarising.
Is there room for silent contemplation as a form of worship? Absolutely. Habakkuk 2:20 says:
But the Lord is in his holy temple;
Let all the earth be silent before him.
But that is only the starting point. Immediately following this, Habakkuk 3 records the following:
A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth:
“Lord, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord.
Renew them in our day,
In our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.”
In the Amplified Version, shigionoth is translated as “to set to wild, enthusiastic, and triumphal music“. When was the last time you heard some wild worship in church?
Second Samuel 6 says that when David brought the ark up to Jerusalem, the procession was accompanied with shouting, and David was leaping and dancing. When King Solomon dedicated the temple in 2 Chronicles 5, there were so many musicians that I’m sure the sound of worship couldn’t be contained with acoustic padding (an accessory conspicuously missing from the temple furnishings)!
I would hazard a guess that God’s preferred worship volume is loud!
For those of us from a more conservative background, let’s start where we are. If lifting up hands is a bit of a struggle, push through into that expression first. Do the “carry the TV” before you go for the full “battle axe”.
But my encouragement to us is to keep pushing the boundary of extravagant expression.
Last Sunday was our last Sunday meeting in our usual auditorium for a few months whilst it undergoes renovation. Our worship director Dave decided that we should do a service focussing on exuberant praise. The idea was for the worship team to model what this meant for the rest of the church. Our lighting team introduced the haze machine and some intelligent lights called “Intimidators” (nice!). And we deliberately hit hard on the jumping, dancing and shouting. One of our singers said that they felt a bit uncomfortable at first, but after seeing me and Dave going for it, it would have actually been awkward to hold back!
Passion is infectious. And I hope that last Sunday’s worship infected our congregation with new found passion in their praise.
Here’s the recording:
So keep teaching and modelling exuberant worship for your congregation. When we get to heaven, there isn’t going to be medium praise. It’s going to be singing in a loud voice “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!” (Rev 5:12).