Spontaneous Worship

Last night, we had what we call on campus, “Praise and Worship”. Over my time here, I have enjoyed this time as a break before the upcoming week to sing songs to God with other Christians and listen to some sort of inspirational message from a fellow student. Praise and Worship was wonderful last night . . . a great variety of music and a wonderful, provocative talk. But as I left, I found myself wondering if this is what God has in mind when we as humans are to worship Him. What I mean by this is does God really want us gathering together in a chapel to simply sing songs when there is much work to do in the world? I found these questions/doubts troubling because Praise and Worship plays a big role in the ministry that takes place on campus. But at the same time, as I look through the Bible, I find the times when people tend to sing praises to God are spontaneous, not set-in-stone-weekly-meeting-times. We see Moses and Miriam offer up songs to God after they are delivered from the Egyptians. When we look at the book of Judges, we see Deborah and Barak sing after God destroyed King Jabin of Canaan. The psalms of celebration and praise are often in response to something that has just happened. We even see it in the gospels when Mary sings a song to God after visiting Elizabeth. All these are spontaneous act of worship, not set meeting times to do what we call Praise and Worship. My question is Have we defined worship as something it is not? I know that worship is now talked about as being holistic, but music in the church always has either the label of ‘praise’ attached to it or ‘worship’. From the examples I just pointed out, I think worship is something we do in response to the events of our lives, the times when we realize just what and how God is creatively working in and through us. Worship then is no longer limited to simply set times, or certain settings, but simply the realization that God is here and because God is here, there is nothing we can do but worship.

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3 Responses to Spontaneous Worship

  1. Beth says:

    I don’t have any biblical basis for this, but I think worship is any way we, as individuals, can completely and wholly give our mind, emotions–EVERYTHING–to God….to the point where we forget where we are and what we’re doing and all we know is that God is good and He loves us. Some people can take a walk and get lost in the simple goodness of God just seeing and listening to His creation; others can read a good book and become so completely enveloped by the words and the message that they’re praising God through learning. Others still can play an instrument or sing a song and simply be overpowered by the love they feel washing over them from the words or the melody. If the music and the lyrics at Praise & Worship succeed in uplifting the gathered assembly into a state of honest and pure worship, do you really think God’s going to shake His finger at us for planning a time to meet? Certainly we should take care to worship God spontaneously (personally, I enjoy bursting into song randomly and often), but I don’t see any harm in P&W.

  2. firescloudsandwanderings says:

    I think you are completely right on with your definition of worship Beth. In this post, I was focusing specifically on musical worship in the Bible. And really, I don’t want to see P&W end. But here are a couple of things to think about. First, if we hold the Bible up to be absolute truth, and we are trying to follow it, then musical worship must be about spontaneity, not set times. And second, I can think of many times when God did wave his finger at his followers for performing sacrifices and rituals just for the hell of it, not transcending space to create a worshipful state.

  3. Beth says:

    Are we upholding the entire Bible as absolute truth? I’m pretty sure you just wrote a post a while back arguing against the authority of Scripture…(I didn’t mean that to sound snotty–just a curious observation. I’m really tired). And I know I don’t know the Bible even half as well as you do, but were there no times at all when congregations gathered on a regular schedule and singing was on the agenda, or was there just no agenda at the gatherings?

    And God can wave his finger at those NW students who go to P&W merely to mingle. As for me and myself, we will worship–regardless of schedule or spontaneous impulse. And I prefer arguing with you in person.

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