Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wondering about Worship

I'm sure I have the quote wrong, but here's what I remember. Last week Marva Dawn was discussing worship when she commented that someone had come up to her and said that she didn't like the music. Dawn said her first response was "so?" and her second was "why do you think worship is about your tastes?" She acknowledges that she is a free lancer and so is freer to say things like this than many in her audience are.

I'm also thinking about Kierkegaard's comment that most folks think in worship they are the audience, God is the prompter and the folks in the front are the actors while in reality, God is the audience, the congregation are the actors and the folks in the front are the prompters.

So, what is worship about? Why do we worship? Yes, I know the answers: worship is about God, not us. But is that true? I mean I really agree that marketing shouldn't enter into worship decisions, and yet, what is worship really about?

I'm thinking about this because I'll be preaching on Psalm 98 in mid May (I'm thinking this far ahead because one week from today I'll be on a plane flying to Israel and will return to Memphis on May 16, and will preach on the next day, so I want to have something to say when I get back.)

I'm thinking of beginning with the first question from the Westminster shorter catechism. What is the chief end of man? Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

Enjoy God forever. Pretty amazing stuff from a bunch of dour Calvinists sitting in Westminster Cathedral (is it a cathedral?) at some point during the religious wars in England. Maybe enjoy didn't mean then what it means now, but that's a pretty intriguing statement. Enjoy God forever.

So, I'm rethinking all my opinions on worship. Why do we worship? What should worship be about? How do we make worship meaningful for the "audience" -- the congregation, not K's vision.

Why should we glorify God or sing God's praises (Sing to the Lord a new song from Psalm 98). Surely God doesn't need our praises because God's ego needs puffing up. I am leaning to the fact that it is about us, after all. We'll see how the sermon comes out. I'm interested in other's thoughts on this.

3 comments:

cheesehead said...

I think you are on track with your last thoughts. God is not some ego-driven rockstar who needs our praise to keep from jumping out the window.

In fact, most days I think God needs us about as much as I need a pimple on my backside. But then, God did go to all the trouble to create us. So the worship must have something to do with making us better. That must be it. Maybe we worship because we need to focus on something other than our petty little selves.

Jane said...

Like the Kierkegaard quote - hadn't come across it before must look it up. Very useful too in ecumenical contexts where the "performance" problem is magnified due to the different sensibilities.
thanks

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