Worship as Belief

It falls to me to pick the worship songs for our house church.

This, as you might guess is something of a liability for me, and perhaps my group. I comb through the song sheets, looking in vain for “Praised Be Thou, Inaugurator of Participationist Eschatology” and the like.

So instead, I have to go with what we have.

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today, as I thumbed through and picked out a few things, I did so with a little bit of an internal eye roll. I grabbed a song that I knew was little more than a compilation of scripture verses. I knew it was a theologically and pastorally apt conjunction of scripture and real life.

But it wasn’t me. I wasn’t feeling it. I felt like a bit of a hypocrite singing first person singular lyrics about myself that didn’t reflect my reality, how I actually have responded to life as late.

You get it? I didn’t want much to do with the song. But I picked it anyway, inasmuch as “The Galatian Praise Song” is something I try to save for Lent.

But then…

When it actually came time to sing the song, I found myself able to sing it, to believe it, to celebrate the reality of what I was singing.

How do you think about worship?

Usually, I think of it as an attempt at an authentic response to God, reflective of where I was when I came in.

And that’s an important piece of it.

But there’s something else going on in worship as well. Worship becomes a tutor to our hearts. We sing what is true, even when we don’t believe it, or didn’t a few seconds before, in order to enter into the belief that we lack.

Worship isn’t just about experience, it is also about ultimate reality. Or, perhaps better, is about creating an experience that expresses and embodies–and therefore summons us into–the reality into which God has called us in Christ.

When we gather as one and with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we participate in the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises. We speak truth again, we catch a glimpse of reality.

And we can believe.

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