August 20, 2007

singing the blues in church


Visiting a church a few weeks ago, the service was called together with a statement that I have let slip from lips at times in the past, but now I struggle with its validity. "As we come to worship this morning, leave your burdens at the door. This is the time that we've come to worship God." I believe the sentiment is "leave your distractions at the door," which I'm sure some parents would love to do by leaving their kids out there, or at least the people sitting behind them wish that they would leave their distractions at the door. But to leave your burdens out of worship? Why on earth would you tell someone to do that? I guess you won't be able to use Isaiah 55 as a call to worship or sing Come, Ye Sinners in your service. There's no reason to deal with your sin in worship, I guess.

I am now of the belief that worship encompasses all of life, and our Sunday morning time of gathering as a congregation should have a taste of all of life: joy, tears, dancing, confessing, struggles, triumphs. All of this must be tempered by the grace and mercy of the God who has called us to his doorstep in the first place.

Do our worship services encompass all of life? The Psalms certainly do. The rest of the Scriptures certainly do. The result of our worship should be joy and comfort, but that doesn't mean that we should avoid dealing with the rougher edges of life. Worship leaders should be teaching their congregations how to sing the Hallelujah Chorus alongside the Blues. I came across this article by Scoti Old on CCLI's website recently, "Singing the Blues In Church".

Singing the blues in church is a matter of honesty. So many of us come to church with a big load of troubles. We want to lay them down in God's presence, spread them out in God's sight and know that He takes them up and sometimes does away with them. We need to be open about our sins, open to God, at least, and we need to hear a word of forgiveness about those sins.

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