May 21, 2008
I think most people would agree that it is rather vain and destructive for an assembly to argue over worship music, style, song selection etc. The splits and divisions which have resulted from something that should be drawing brothers closer together begs a reconciliation with the scriptures. These things shouldn't be, and it is the job of every believer and every assembly to seek conformity with the Biblical pattern.
It appears that at the heart of the mater lies a wrestling for control over the music. Where there are authorities and powers at play (other than the Spirit of God) then wrestling and striving for control will always be close by. Creating positions like a worship leader may help solve disputes, and give some sort of centralized direction to the singing of songs, but it will never accomplish true agreement and unity among believers. This can only be accomplished through the Spirit. (To the doubter: Yes, He is real and He is able)
What would have to change for the Spirit, through the assembled body, to have the rightful rule over worship and singing? Are there some structures which war against the manifestation of the Spirit? Paul the Apostle seems to think so. He also says that tearing them down is the work of believers.
What would have to change so that we could follow the pattern of the scripture, and be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Is it possible in the assembly to let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God?
What would happen if when you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation and all things were done for building up one another?
For this to happen would it require a change of belief about how the body of Christ is to assemble together? Remember, nothing every changes without repentance. Remember also that repentance always has a cost.
Think about this: When worship is led by the Spirit, through the whole body, it puts the glory where it belongs. It also allows for potential disaster because you have to take your hand off the wheel of the assembly and stop controlling it. We put ourselves in a position which requires God to be present and to lead his body or there will be in a wreck. All we need to do is get out of the way and have some faith in his promises.
Think about it: You would always have the opportunity to bless the assembly with an old treasure or even a new song. You would have the opportunity to love one another and give preference to their desires in a way that is freely given. When things are out of order and there is a "train wreck" then questions can be asked and problems addressed rather than sweeping things under the carpet. It allows the Lord to bless the assembly with unplanned and unexpected blessings.
As a word of encouragement, I see this happen every week. The Lord honors those who walk by faith and seek to keep his will at any cost. Our assemblies have overflowed with blessings as a result of repentance and change, and we continue to be amazed how the Lord shows up in so many different ways. It is not a good idea to try to put Jesus in a box and conform him to our traditions. He's not a tame lion :-) but he is Good!
Regarding those who are currently trapped in traditions which keep the Spirit out, remember that Jesus still found his way into a locked upper room. The Spirit blows where he wills and there is always hope. May he walk through walls to find them. Amen.