“We have seen the enemy and he is us…”

This quote, belonging to the legendary cartoon character Pogo and his owner Walt Kelly, applies equally well to what we have commonly termed “worship wars.” The battles continue to rage on but the boom is now over. People have gotten it out of their system and artists are no longer rushing out to remake the greatest hits or hymns. The fad has passed on and worship remains.

What can we learn from this?

In the midst of retooling every popular worship song of the last twenty years many new gems have emerged. For that we should be thankful. In addition, we have also discovered many new hymn writers in the church today. I believe that they will continue to add to the richness of our historical traditions and infuse beautiful colors into the tapestry of music.

Even with everything we have been through there is still so much left to learn (and unlearn). For example, I still get irritated when I hear comments like the following:

“Our worship is boring.”

“I can’t worship to hymns.”

“We need more worship.”

While I understand the idea behind the statements I’m still concerned that they show such a narrow understanding of worship. I believe that we have muddied the biblical definition of worship by solely linking it to music and church gatherings.

Read and think on the following verses.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
(Romans 12:1)

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

(1 Corinthians 3:16)

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
(Colossians 3:17)

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
(Matthew 22:37)

If my reasoning is correct our lives are to be “worship” to God. Our bodies are God’s temple and thus our lives should be a living sacrifice where we die to our own desires as we seek to serve God.

Is this how we look at worship?

Is this how we live our lives?

What about our church gatherings?

What about our music preferences?

In the next post I would like to consider both the positive and negative implications of “worship” as it is commonly understood and suggest a possible alteration.