What is worship? Why do we worship? How do we worship? Tim Keller spoke to the heart of these questions through Psalm 95. It’s a beauty and well worth a listen – and it may even change the way you think about it for good.
Ultimately, life at all times is an act of worship and this is the true preparation for anything we do, in our families or work, ministry or the ‘time of worship’ on a Sunday. However, in the context of music (such as Still Worship) worship could be broken down into four ‘modes’: Preparation, Praise & Exaltation, Waiting and finally, Change. Is this the only way to look at it? Of course not, but it’s one way to explore what is going on when worship happens. So we’ll start with Preparation and then over the coming weeks, the other three.
Worship as Preparation
Let’s face it, we humans are created as physical and emotional beings. Some versions of spirituality might under-sell this, but God made us with ears, eyes and emotions. Whether as musicians or listeners, music affects us.
Music might stir memories, ramp up emotions like love or anger, excite us or bring us to silence. Perhaps classical music inspires tears at a concert, fast dance music helps one run faster on a treadmill, a song reminds one of a departed loved one, the football team song is sung in triumph or depresses someone else by reminding her that life is so unfair. In Biblical times, as in our own, music stirred people for battle, scared enemies, was used in ceremony and celebration or gave worship and honour to notable people or God Himself.
How might this apply to our worship? Well, the music we play, we hope, physically and emotionally prepares us – to come, sing to God, to still ourselves, to focus on God, to remember, to feel joy, repentance, feel awestruck or thankful – and many more. Often, Still Worship’s music is quiet and meditative. This reminds and encourages us to be still, make God the centre and allow Him to move and speak.
To achieve this, we offer our musical gifts, set the mood with lighting and so on. These practical actions reflect the people we are, our talents, personalities and the way we like to do things. However we like the word ‘preparation’ because we do not believe that this is the end result or purpose (as is the case with simple entertainment), but rather the beginning of worship – bringing our best (a state of the heart of worship). We encourage you to enjoy, feel settled, meditate and focus. But this is only the beginning for us – simply the opening the door of our hearts to God.
In this mode of Preparation, we hope the music acts as a call to not only your ears, but your hearts also.
There’s one more important aspect: what the music achieves in the spiritual realm as it unfolds. There is a sense of something going on – darkness being pushed aside – and we believe that even though it’s not an easy thing to comprehend or grasp, there is an inherent spiritual power in music. Remember, it was trumpets, and not battering rams, that caused the walls of Jerico to fall.
More to come!