If you were to watch me sing along with worship on a Sunday morning, you’d likely catch me in any number of poses. Sometimes I sing with gusto, other times I’m more reserved. Sometimes I raise my hands and lift my face, and other times I lower my head, eyes closed, in a prayerful pose. Occasionally I stand there, squirming a little, gaping like a fish.
On the one hand, I relish being in the midst of the congregation of believers who lift one voice to praise God together as one people. What a joy! But on the other hand, sometimes I just don’t feel like participating. I don’t feel like following my worship pastor’s lead or I don’t like the song or I’m feeling lazy or I’m just grumpy.
You’ve been there, right?
The problem, of course, is that God commands us to lift up one voice and to praise Him together, and His command includes everything from our physical posture to our attitude in worship. That means it’s not a question of what I want to do or how I feel. I don’t get to be ruled by my feelings if I want to be ruled by His commands.
Like, say, song selection. It’s easy to resent your worship leader on Sunday morning because he picked a song that you don’t like. You’re a feeler, he picked a thick theological hymn, and you just want to tell Jesus you love Him. Or you’re a thinker and he picked a song that repeats “I love you” over and over and over again ad nauseum. Or you like rock music and your church sings a capella. Or vice versa.
This, dear reader, is what the French call “dumb.”
Some congregations use instruments, some don’t. Some use amplification, some don’t. Some sing in 16-part harmony, some sing in unison. If you’re in a good church, where the word of God is honored and preached, and where there is real fellowship and love and leadership, don’t be stingy about the music.
It may not be your preference, but congregational worship isn’t the time to be selfishly concerned about your personal preferences. It’s time to relish joining our voices together to praise our God and Father.
We want a worship experience that suits us, but we need to be willing to be led. We need to give ourselves with joy to our worship together. I often pray on Saturday night and on Sunday morning before the service that God would fill our hearts with joy and gladness.
Your attitude when you walk into church on Sunday morning isn’t your worship leader’s responsibility.
So don’t be a squirming, gaping fishface on Sunday morning. Sing for the joy set before you!