Earlier this week, I read the following devotional from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals. (love this book by the way!!)
“There is an old saying many Christians use: ‘Offer the Lord a sacrifice of praise,’ referring to Hebrews 13:15. In many circles this notion of a ‘sacrifice of praise’ almost becomes cliche. (Perhaps because worship does not often come at much cost, especially compared with the sacrifices of saints who’ve gone before us.) But when we worship with folks of various traditions, there are times when we may hear a prayer that uses language we might not naturally use or sing a song that isn’t really our style. That is part of what it means to be a member of a community as diverse as the church is. And perhaps that also helps shed some light on why it might require some sacrifice for us to give up ourselves.
When a song isn’t working for you, consider praising God, because that probably means it is working for someone else who is very different from you. Offer your worship as a sacrifice rather than requiring others to sacrifice for your pleasure or contentment. There is something to the notion of becoming one as God is one; it doesn’t mean that we are the same; it just means that we are united by one Spirit. After all, we can become one only if there are many of us to begin with.
I share all this to say, if you are a part of a body of believers who has a worship pastor, I want to encourage you to thank him or her this week!! Their job is hard. They are often left feeling like they have to please an immensely large and difficult group of people. 🙂 That group of people is US, the congregation, oftentimes complainers, oftentimes just so passionate about worship that they can’t help but share their opinions. 🙂 But, just reach out and offer some encouragement. Offer up some prayers on their behalf!
For me, I am a musician and love, love, love our times of corporate worship together on Sundays and even on Wednesday nights as we practice. I feel close to God when I am closing my eyes and singing directly to Him. I love how He blesses me through the time when I’m seeking to bless Him. I have said before that worship is my therapy. 🙂 Though, then I kind of feel selfish for gaining such joy from something that is supposed to be for God!! I think He understand, though…in fact, I think He is pleased with my joy in Him.
I have had times, though, when we have sung songs that I just haven’t loved. What I loved most about the devotional above is that it said to praise God when you aren’t loving the music. Praise Him because another brother or sister in Christ is being ministered to with that same song that you can’t stand. I love that the Body of Christ is so diverse – so why not be diverse in our worship of Him? I want God to continue breaking away all the selfishness in me…and sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it is humbling.