Tuesday, September 1, 2009

That's What I Said...

Popular Question: What is the purpose of worship through song in the corporate gathering of the Church?

Popular Answer(s): To lead people to the throne room of God; or to bring people into the presence of God

Sure, there are a myriad other answers I hear, but these are two that I hear time and time again. Just this morning I was watching a clip of worship and I heard the worship leader say something very similar to these answers. I've been pondering this lately...

My friend, Jason Dukes, takes HUGE issue with someone saying, "We are going to church." He will tell you, "We don't GO to church, we ARE the church. The church is a who, not a what." And he's very correct. As a matter of fact, since I met Jason about two years ago, this concept has really rubbed off on me. While sometimes I will still speak about going to "church," I will more commonly say something like, "Where do you guys gather with other believers?" I prefer to refer to the gathering, the church, rather than the building, which is simply a gathering place.

Many readers, I'm sure, are just annoyed with this kind of talk. Well, most of you ARE the church. You get it. At least, now you do. But that guy you just passed on the street - we're just confusing the heck out of him. Religion leans on a building, but followers of Christ, the Church, lean on Jesus Christ. A building has no bearing on our faith. There's an enormous valley of confusion in this vast gap. I want to be part of the solution to clear it up, not just add to the enigma.

So back to our definition of the purpose of worship through song...

If you trust the Bible as a source of truth - and I don't assume that you do, then you might understand the concept of God's omnipresence. Omnipresence suggests that God 's presence is in all places at all times. This is a concept that we find described in scripture in various ways. Here are a couple of them:

Psalm 139:7-8 says, "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there. If I make my bed in the depths, you are there."

Jeremiah 23:23-24 says, "'Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?' declares the Lord. 'Do I not fill heaven and earth?' declares the Lord."

When I hear worship leaders speak of bringing us "into God's presence" I just want to stand up and say, "We were in God's presence when we woke up this morning, matted hair, drooling on our pillows and thinking 'I gotta pee.'"

Don't get me wrong, most of us know what we mean. Most of us. Don't we? Or do we? And for those who don't, and trust me, they make up a large portion of people in our weekly gatherings, shouldn't we care enough, shouldn't we love enough to communicate this truth of God's omnipresence?

I mean, what we say matters......right?