~by Randy Bushey Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God (Colossians 3:16).
We recently had occasion to worship at a large church in another city on Sunday morning.
The site was functional and massive, with clear architectural design and forethought. The people were enthusiastic and warm. The preaching was sound and biblical.
And the music was performed with artistry and competence.
But as we drove away, we discussed the song selection, and more specifically, the lyrics – what specifically were those songs projecting as the focus of worship?
I don’t mean to be overly-critical. However, it was clear to both of us that consistent in most of what we sang congregationally was a man-centred focus, with the frequent pronouns being me, I, and we.
I’ve often heard it said that the 21st century church is in danger of carelessly squandering our reverence for God.
The early warning signals will be evident in our worship, and in our prayer.
We have a natural proclivity to reduce the uncommon to common, and the sacred to secular.
Unless very watchful, we demean and degrade that which is supreme, superlative.
Our default tendency is to profane that which is holy.
And ultimately to dishonour the glory of God.
Recognizing this demands a refocus on the content of our corporate worship.
We live in a Christian culture that equates worship with music. We are the first generation in the history of the church to do so.
Our primary worship occurs when the Word of God is open before us, and when the text of Scripture is faithfully preached. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate Worship Leader.
Our active contribution typically precedes the preaching, occurring when we sing together. And to the extent that we have opportunity, the Lord’s people must be intentional and deliberate in singing that which magnifies the transcendent supremacy and the eternal pre-eminence of the Triune God.
1) Paul instructed in Colossians 3:16 that it begins with the word of Christ dwell[ing] in you richly. Our worship is predicated on having a steady diet of God’s Word.
2) And our music should have lyrical content that instructs and challenges us to exult in the Person, the Character, the magnificence of God: teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.
3) Spiritual maturity demands always being aware that ultimately your music is not just an artform of personal preference, but sung for Him – an audience of One: with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
May our corporate music and singing deepen our capacity to exult in our glorious God: Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor?” “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen. (Romans 11:33-36).
- image by Nevit Dilman, freeimages.com