In my first rant on worship I steered away from comparing the kind of praise and worship I was used to at MorningStar and the kind of worship I have experienced elsewhere. I still want to avoid comparisons of the, “this is better than that” variety. But I do want to talk about something I miss about worshiping at MorningStar.
I miss the waiting. In my (probably limited) experience with “pop worship” I miss the stillness. The lingering. I often feel that there are too many words, too much of one song following right after another. Not enough of being still. Waiting to see/hear what the Lord wants to do or sing or hear.
Why is it that often you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a worship service and a pop concert? One song follows swiftly on the heels of another with barely a pause. A song is set in a verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus pattern with little sensitivity to what the Holy Spirit may be doing in the room, in the hearts of the people. (I realize that I’m coming across a bit harshly right now. I don’t mean to imply that I think most worship leaders are not sensitive to the Spirit. But often things are moving along so swiftly I wonder if we have even given him room to speak.)
When the Psalms resound not only with the cacophony of praise but also with such statements as, “Be still and know that I am God,” “The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silent before him,” and “I have calmed and quieted my soul,” why are we so afraid to just be still, silent, and surrendered as a congregation?
When the Temple was dedicated in Jerusalem, and the Ark of the Covenant was placed inside, we are only told of the Priests and Levites singing one song, and a simple one at that: “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Why then do we feel we need to compose complicated and catchy tunes for our services?
There have been many times when I’ve just wanted to shout out, “Wait! Don’t move on yet, something is stirring. Give the Lord a chance to speak.” Or when I’ve begun to feel a deep connection only to have to fight to hold onto it as corporately we’re now moving on to the collection song. I don’t want to be harsh and judgmental. I just feel so sad that we’re missing out on something vital.
Let the musicians linger on that chord progression just a bit longer. Perhaps the background singer has a prophetic song that’s going to speak to a place in someone’s heart that needs healing. Maybe the Lord is speaking something to the drummer, showing him a bit of His heartbeat. It could be that a member of the congregation is being given a prophetic dance. Or that the Pastor has a word of healing for the lady who just slipped in the back row. Perhaps there’s a simple song that the Lord wants us to sing to Him together, a song to help us express our love for Him. Maybe, just maybe, the Lord wants to show up and take over the service and completely wreck our hearts for him forever. Maybe, but we’ll never know if we rush on to the next song without pausing for a while.
(Also, I think we could use more waiting on our worship albums. Make it conducive for people to worship in their homes or driving in their cars instead of just entertaining them with our catchy tunes to sing along with. But maybe that’s just me.)