Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Excitement and Praise

In the past month or so I have been getting feedback from people that the music in our worship services has been too slow. They say that we need more upbeat music and excitement. I agree with them that things have been slow, more reflective and contemplative, somewhat because I think that's needed and somewhat because that's just where I've been at. But just because that's what I'm experiencing doesn't mean that everyone else is and that doesn't mean that its the right place to be. So I'm torn between this place of understanding that praise is a joyful thing, something that I have experienced, but also knowing that it can be a very fake thing. I'm struggling to really know where the congregation is at and how to lead them to a place of true excitement and praise of our Lord and Savior rather than conjured up energy from a song or short experience.

I guess I look at the congregation and my question is, where are all of them at? What are they praising God for? Are they excited about God and I am not? Am I leading them in or to a place where they aren't or aren't prepared to go? Or am I keeping them in a place that they are already past and need to move past? Or are these people who are requesting faster music just bored by God on a Sunday morning and looking for something to enthrall them?

I guess what it comes down to is this:
We have a desire to be excited, we have a drive for something that will get us so caught up that we forget ourselves and just get lost in that thing. So some turn to sports for that excitement that they desire, yelling and cheering and getting all caught up. Some turn to nature, taking long hikes and seeing awe inspiring views. Some turn to music, looking for a bass or drums that will just make your heart pound and raise your blood pressure. Some people look to drugs, or to sex, or to work, or to recreation, or to TV, or to friendship after friendship. But my desire is to be excited and enthralled and awed by God. I want God to raise my blood pressure and amaze me with the thing He has done. I want God to excite me and make me want to get up and sing. I don't want to get excited because of a moving story, powerful music, or an amazing picture. And therefore I don't want to lead the congregation to excitement based on these things. Instead, I want us to be excited by the hand of God moving, to see the hand of God moving and to praise Him for THAT. To actually be willing to dance before Him, because if we're seeking excitement in a worship service but we aren't willing to dance then we aren't actually seeking God or godly excitement.

So, I don't think its wrong to be excited, in fact I think that we should be excited. But, quite frankly, I haven't been super excited recently over God, which I think is wrong and I am working on. But I just see it as being easy to force excitement rather than waiting on God, seeking His face, and then when He shows up falling on the floor in awe and then jumping up and dancing. I would rather take the real thing 10 times in my life than to force it 52 Sundays a year for the rest of my life and never actually feel the excitement and energy that comes from getting a glimpse, however small, of what God has done and is doing.

I think that the heart of our excitement should be the Gospel, so I need to dig into the Gospel more and understand it more fully until I find myself at the place that I am excited and rejoicing over what God did. But I am left wondering how I can, in a 5 minute call to worship on a Sunday morning, bring everyone else in on all of this and encourage them to be excited about the most exciting thing in the universe rather than settling for the blood pulsing result of fast paced, energizing music.

May you be called by our Father to a place of pure joy and excitement from Him. May you not get caught up in all that this world has to offer, missing the real goal of God honoring, Christ exalting, Spirit initiated praise of our God that makes you at the same moment want to dance on a table and bow on your knees. May you not seek excitement, energy, an experience, joy, or even love, but instead seek our God in all of His glorious radiance, and seek to better know and love Him who came to die in your place so that you might live.

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