The Sound of the Worshiper
The above statement, which I posted on the Commandment 1 Facebook page on July 5, came about because, as a pastor, worshipper, and “musician”, I have noticed over the years an interesting dynamic that has developed in churches. And it is basically something like this: the worship team is made up of musicians, and since they lead worship every week, they are highly visible, and it is understood, taught, and preached that they lead “us” into worshiping the Lord.
Consequently, those Christians in the pews, aspiring musicians and worship leaders, see the worship team as a goal, and they hope to be a part of the “team”. That is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when a person has such a call they feel they must fulfill.
But there are also many others who want to be on the worship team, often without the talent, and with motives for being noticed instead of worshipping. They are often rejected and told they are not good enough, leaving them even more wounded and more conditioned to believe they are not worshipers because they are not good enough for the worship team.
Most people in churches do not want to be “in the band” but unfortunately they have been conditioned to believe that the worship team is necessary to lead them into worship, that they cannot worship without music, that they cannot worship without the worship team, that worship happens only during services, and as a result they do not see themselves as worshipers, but rather as people who follow the worshipers.
I realize this does not apply to all, but it does apply to many, because when I talk to people, pray for them and counsel them... it becomes very clear they do not believe they are worshipers, primarily because they have been taught that worshiping God is directly connected to being a musician, dancer, artist, or some other kind of artistic person.
The truth is quite the opposite: being a worshiper has nothing exclusively to do with music or the arts. The arts are one of the ways that worshipers express their love and worship to God. There has been much taught about postures, movements, actions, shouts, sounds, the Davidic forms of worship in the Temple, Tabernacle and so on, connected to worship... and it is true.
However, as believers in a new and better covenant, we are the Temple, the Holy Spirit is in our Temple, and we have been commanded to worship the Lord “in Spirit and in truth.”
The foundational truth about worshiping God is that we are all to worship Him, in our hearts, minds, souls, spirits - and that comes from a personal decision and will to love God. You can love and worship God and have no musical or artistic ability in you. On the other hand - you can be the most talented musician and artist in the world, and not know how to worship God at all.
That does not mean there are no true worshipers who are musicians and artists. There certainly are, and we are aware of many who have the heart, passion and the musical and artistic gifts. And it is a joy to be around people who are both artists and worshipers.
However, the goal of this article is to establish that we are the instruments of worship, and that God is pleased with the sounds, and silence of our hearts as we turn our love and affection to Him, so that when we do worship Him with music, we recognize music is not the worship, but it helps us express our hearts to Him.
One of the most amazing examples of a worshiper of God is a woman with no name in the Bible. She, no doubt, had a name, but the writers of the Gospels did not seem to think it was important to tell us her name, and perhaps that is a very important point of the whole account: a woman who was so desperate, so focused on loving the Lord that she did not need to say a word, and did not need or want the attention and fame for what she had done.
44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much.
The key thing to notice is that Jesus commends her acts of attending to Him, not because of the acts, but because of the motive of her heart. And he gives answers to her prayers and the cries of her heart precisely because her acts were worship which demonstrated that she loved Him - and she did all this...silently.
No music. No dance. No singing. No art. No banners. No shouting. Just outward silence, with an inner turmoil, and passion, with a singular focus of worshiping the Lord to the exclusion of not being aware of anything else around her.
As leaders, pastors, teachers, we must communicate to people that they are truly valuable, not just to us, but to God, and that it is their affection, their feelings, their will, that their silent communication of adoration to the Lord is true and valuable worship that the Lord searches for and responds to.
We must make them confident worshipers - apart from music, not just with music - and not leave them insecure people who believe they are not good enough as worshipers because they don't sing, play guitar or are on stage with a team.
This statement means more to me, every time I read it. I now read it like I did not write it, and with a desire for that to be true in me, and in the hearts of those I know, teach and train.
“If you are not a worshiper, singing, dancing and making music does not automatically make you a worshiper. The sound of the worshiper is not in the music but in the heart and spirit of the worshiper expressing love and adoration to God. You are a worshiper because you are a worshiper, not because you sing, dance and play music...you are the one expressing your love to the Lord, you are the instrument of worship.”
Be a worshiper first. The sound of your heart, soul and spirit is what the Lord is listening for.
Copyright © 2011 Z. J. Makan; SonusCor, Commandment 1, Revelation School, DoubleEagle