I wrote a post a few months ago titled “Adam, Where Are You?” about how worship requires us to be vulnerable. As I think about being vulnerable in our worship, I am concerned about what is being presented to congregations across the world as worship.
I remember as a very young child going to a very small Congregational Holiness Church in my home town of Abbeville, S.C. I would sit beside my mom and dad as the song leader would lead the congregation in an old hymn. The folks would sing from their books to the best of their ability and inevitably, it would happen. The words to that old hymn would strike a nerve of remembrance or thankfulness in someones mind and heart and the tears would begin to flow. Sometimes, you would hear sobs of gratitude for the things that they may have been saved from. Sometimes, you would hear shouts of joy over the fact that “it was there, by faith, I received my sight!” At times, you may even see the occasional runner; you know, the one who was so overjoyed, they just had to get out of their seat and take a “jog of joy” down the aisle and across the front of the meeting-place.
I know that; at that time of my young life, I did not understand what all of that was about, but now, at the age of 44, I know first hand what it means to have my life changed by the love of a Mighty God. I know what it means to walk to the edge of the cliff of despair and have the hand of God reach down and pull me back, turn me around and show me a better way to live. That’s why I worship the way I do. That’s why I shout. That’s why I dance (not that I’m a good dancer). That’s why I weep when the words of a song bring me to the remembrance of all my Lord has done for me.
First of all, I have no judgement for anyone, though I feel there are some questions that need to be answered.
One question I would ask of worship leaders is this: Are we creating an atmosphere where the people who attend our meetings are encouraged to connect emotionally and spiritually with a God who wants to meet them at the deepest point of their need? Or, are we really creating a “safe” place for them to actually hide from that loving God who is so desperate to meet them there.
Maybe the better question for me to ask is this: Mr. or Mrs. Worship Leader, are you connecting emotionally and spiritually with the people you lead and with the God who wants to meet them? Or, Are you hiding behind your light show, haze machine, maybe even your own voice?
I believe we have created a situation where we have wonderful productions. We have all of the lights, smoke, video and other things that we feel make for a good “show.” I have no problem with any of this, but what I see many times is a group of musicians and singers who are very well polished in their abilities but who really do not know who they are or what their job is in the Kingdom of God. I also see congregations who are basically forced, by the “concert” look of the set, to watch and never really participate or connect with anything.
2 Corinthians 3:13-18 says “unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Moses (the leader) put a veil over his face so that the people couldn’t see that he wasn’t really what they thought he was and the people thought nothing of it. They just went on about their routine.
I encourage you, if you have the responsibility of leading a group of people into the presence of God, to take off YOUR veil. Lead those people from a place of vulnerability and watch what God does.
The last part of that scripture says “But we ALL, with unveiled faces…” We cannot be transformed into the image of God unless we can see His glory. We cannot see His glory unless we come with “unveiled faces.”
Can you think of ways we as worshipers “veil” our faces in worship? What are some of the things we do as worship leaders that keep us from seeing the glory of our God in our corporate times of worship?
Are we leading our people to encounter a Holy God? Or, are we simply putting on a show for them to watch?