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Lies, damned lies and song lyrics (WBWG #6)

September 1, 2010

After blogging for a little while, I’ve finally worked out some of what I want to say – that means I’ve had to try and tidy this blog up a little to make it make a little more sense.  This post is part of a series entitled “Why bother? Why gather? What’s the point of corporate worship? – and you can see the rest of it here.

So, in my first post on this topic I touched on a couple of points that I want to expand on in my next few posts.

  • We are in the habit of ignoring the words we sing, and therefore singing lies and untruths are common in the church.  This has got to stop!

So, I’m doing a Roy Walker and saying what I see.   There’s songs about dancing that we are happy to sing, but no one dances to.  There’s songs about clapping, about kneeling, about lifting up holy hands, about laughing, rejoicing, shouting….  and no one has noticed the lies that are pouring forth from our mouths.  The fear of man has people petrified as stoic statues: a true understanding of biblical worship would surely help us enjoy heaven on earth, the church encountering some of its eternal destiny in raucous, noisy, physical, beautiful worship of our great King, Jesus.  (Please note, I do not claim to have this true understanding in any sense of fulness – I think I see something of it, but want to call the church into a radical pursuit of authentic worship with me!!)

The two points I come at this subject from are these: that biblical worship involves the whole person, so I’m not sure there is room for anyone to say “I’m dancing in my heart”.  And that the Psalms, a textbook for biblical worship if there ever was one, are chock full of physical expressions of worship, expressed both individually and corporately.

Are white British middle class Christians leaving erect this idol of stiff upper lip and restrained emotion in their lives, as the Israelites did their Asherah poles and high places?  Are we really that tied up in such baggage or bondage that we are not prepared to sacrifice what others think of us for the sake of the only One whose opinion counts for anything?

Psalm 47 – clap your hands, all you people.  ALL you people.  Whether this psalm is addressed to the nations, or the people gathered in the temple or tabernacle at that time to worship God together, corporately, doesn’t really matter: it is both a prophetic call to the nations and a liturgical instruction to the gathered worshipping people of God – CLAP YOUR HANDS! What do you think was actually happening in the place when David pulled this one out on Song Pro, hey?  Did it go  like most new songs “I’ll sing a line, then you sing a line” – or was it more like David couldn’t be heard over the obedient, joyful and rapturous applause of the people of God, for their God.  I can’t tell you from the Scriptures which way it went: whether this was a liturgical instruction that was followed or not.  But I am sure that the David who danced like a madman before the Ark was unable to restrain himself in corporate worship either!  (Unable to restrain himself, or unwilling to restrain himself? I wonder…)

Psalm 100: Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Nice thought? Pretty mental picture? Prophetic call? Liturgical instruction? It is addressed to all the earth – are you included in that instruction? Come on church, let’s make some noise when we sing songs that encourage us to shout.  Let’s especially make some noise when we sing songs that declare that we will shout, because God deserves it and to do otherwise is to lie.  SHOUT FOR JOY!!!

Psalm 150 – a worship leader’s favourite.  It tells the band to play up, the instruments to sound their praise to God.  It also instructs us to praise the Lord with dance.  Miriam did it, David did it;  Jesus tells us to (Luke 6:23) and our Father dances over us in delight (Zephaniah 3:17)  Why won’t we?

Hillsong, Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, Delirious and others have all given us songs that tell us to do it, or rather declare that we are already doing it – why won’t we?

Can I encourage you to consider making the following commitments in readiness for the next time you gather with the people of God to worship Him together?

  • Be released to use your body as well as your mind in worship.
  • Give your all to your King who gave His all for you.
  • Kill, sacrifice, put to death the part of you that is in any way worried about what the person next to you may think of you – it is likely that they have been wanting to do the same for ages, but were scared to look silly and are now free to get physical because you have led the way.
  • Please don’t settle for speaking (or singing) even one more lie in church from now on.



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2 Comments leave one →
  1. hazel stones permalink
    September 1, 2010 9:27 pm

    There have been a number of times when the ‘indulgent’ smiles of others have pulled me up short from moving/dancing/reacting to the songs the way I felt inclined. Well I promise not to let it get to me any more. In other words “I will dance, I will sing to be mad for my King and I’ll become even more undignified than this”. okay?

    • September 2, 2010 6:20 pm

      OK, Hazel!!! Go for it!!!

      Clapping, shouting and dancing shouldn’t just be for the black-majority churches or the prayer night at Brighton – its biblical worship.

      I promise not to smile…. 🙂

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