In the days since I wrote that post, I have found myself thinking more and more about the part of our church services where to do what we commonly call worship - or in other words, singing.
- Why do we call that worship?
- Why is singing so important to (most of) us?
- Why have we taken a word that encompasses so much and used it describe just a small part of the time we gather as a community of believers?
The first question of why we call singing in church services worship is the one I have had running through my head the most. I was reading some more on the Worship Matters blog and came across some attempts to answer this question that are written far more succinctly than my attempts to say much the same thing.
"But, why do we sing? Let me suggest three reasons. We sing to remember God's Word. We sing to respond to God's grace. We sing to reflect God's glory." (What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 6, Feb 7/06)
"Singing is meant to be a tool that help us remember those words - God's deeds, attributes, promises, and warnings." (What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 7, Feb 8/06)When I think about it, I learned a lot about God and the Bible as a child from the songs we learned in Sunday School and at summer camp. Even today, I still remember Scripture better if it is in a song.
Music and singing is one way express our worship to God, but it is only one way we do so. As much as it is an important part for myself and for many others I know, I am glad it is not the only way we can worship.
Which brings me to my next question: Why have we taken a word that encompasses so much and used to describe just a small par o the time we gather as a community of believers?
To quote Worship Matters again:
"Worship doesn't begin when the singing starts, nor end when the music stops. We don't 'do worship' in a meeting, nor compartmentalize it to the singing section. Romans 12:1 clearly says that worship is about what we do with our lives." (What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 16, March 1/06)It is easy to call the time with music and singing in church worship and it is accurate, as long as we are not limiting it to that. All of the time we are gathered together as a community of believers can be worship - whether we are singing, or praying together, or listening to someone preach, or sharing testimonies, or sharing conversation and getting involved in each others lives over food.
We must be careful to not limit our understanding of worship to being only singing by calling the music worship, when all of it can and should be worship.