I like to take spectacular shots. It is almost easier for me than a normal shot. Once or twice every soccer game, when the pass is good, I’ll try to take a scissor kick. But more often than not the shot ends up wide of the goal. So even though it’s spectacular, it’s not always useful. This same feeling came to me one morning when I was at a worship time at YWAM Worcester. Sometimes it’s spectacular, beautiful and amazing, but if it doesn’t hit the target…
This is not about the worship leader or the style, this is about me. I grew up in church and sang thousands of songs and hymns. Over time I hardly noticed what I sang. Songs were on the liturgy so often, that I didn’t need the songbook for the words anymore. Until I moved countries. The language of worship changed. I couldn’t sing along without being aware what I expressed. It wasn’t just the language. My worship experience completely changed over the years. It went from organ guided to a worship team, from psalms and hymns to a more recent repertoire.
Why do we sing this?
During one of our worship times we sang these lyrics: What can wash us pure as snow, nothing but your blood King Jesus. When I think about what I sing with this song, it makes me nauseous. I don’t like blood, especially a pool of it. “Why do we sing this?” I wondered in all honesty. Why do we say this: “I am covered by the blood?” Or read this: “…they overcame him by the blood of the Lam…?” Is God a blood thirsty control freak who seeks revenge for sin? That doesn’t sound like the God I know…
Blood appears all through the bible. It is a recurring theme linked to redemption and covenant. Through all those mentions and through covenant and redemption speaks a heart. It is the heart of a Father, who longs for connection. Who eagerly waits to see: will their eyes open? Will they understand? Will they search, reach out and know Me?
When Worship hits the Target
I believe this is what worship is about: connecting with the Father. When you worship alone, it’s about Him. When you worship as a church or community, it’s about Him. Even if the worship is very spectacular, sober or more traditional, it doesn’t matter. What matters is if the shot is on target. Do you connect with God?
But how do you connect? What if the worship leader or style is not yours? Or if there is too much repetition, too much noise to hear yourself sing, or other distracting factors? I must admit that this bothers me sometimes too. Yet it also tells me that my focus is not right. What helps me in those moments is to look at the lyrics and take them literally. And to allow the words to make new impressions. To have a fresh conversation, despite the repetition, noise or distractions. That’s how worship can be spectacular and hit the target!