Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Balanced worship - the best of both worlds

Choruses or hymns? Its the age old argument about which is best. For me I don't see why I have choose. Why not have the best of both worlds? Years ago I attended a worship workshop which made a very useful distinction between the two which I have always found helpful. He (she?) said that hymns were usually sung doctrine/belief ABOUT who the God is we have come to praise. Whereas choruses or songs were usually sung TO God expressing love and adoration for him. The first category acknowledges God's transcendence, the second, his immanence. We need BOTH in worship not either/or. So the best of worship has them both.

So in the first category we have a classic like the following:

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.

Here we are talking ABOUT God, that he is our "health and salvation". He is worthy of our praise and therefore we should go to the place of his presence - the Temple - and join others to "praise Him in glad adoration."

Now take a chorus like the following:

Jesus take me as I am,
I can come no other way.
Take me deeper into You,
Make my flesh life melt away.
Make me like a precious stone,
Crystal clear and finely honed.
Light of Jesus shining through,
Giving glory back to You.

Here we are talking directly TO Jesus asking him to take us as we are for that is all we have got to offer. But please don't leave us like this, transform us so that your light shines through. We can then give glory back to the one who deserves it.

Two contrasting approaches to worshipping God ensuring that he is acknowledged in all His fulness as transcendent and immanent, God above and God below or alongside us in Jesus.

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