The Word of the Day: Worship

What did Eron & Matt mean by “cranking the amps up to 11”?

While doing some guitar amp maintenance I realized my amp goes to 12!!!!! That’s right folks not 10, not 11…12 that’s one whole numeric value higher…and yes I’m using some heavy sarcasm. What you should expect from the “music” of revolution is somewhat a variety. Style is extremely subjective. I would imagine even in a group of 20somethings there will be a diverse flavor. Some like R&B and rap, others like mainstream rock, and there are probably a few indie lovers. Don’t worry you won’t know any of the bands they listen to, and if you do then they no longer like them. Then there are a few folks hanging on to a genre known as metal.

So what does that mean for Revolution?

First imagine James Taylor singing Metallica…funny isn’t it, that’s what you would get if I attempt metal… Again the point is to lead worship to God, not to the cool band, or the dude shredding on guitar, etc. The style will be something we can play and sing well or at least to the best of our ability. For metal heads, unless you convert Rob Halford, James Hetfield or Ronnie James Dio you’ll be a little disappointed in the “music”, but you won’t be disappointed in the one we are worshiping!

Are you wondering why I’ve used the word music and not “worship”? Simple, I have been very guilty of calling music worship. Yes it is worship, but it implies that only music is worship, and that is certainly false.  I would argue that what I often called worship is not… Let’s define it…Webster says:

Verb 1: to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power 2: to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion <a celebrity worshiped by her fans

This is another great explanation by William Temple’s (1881-1944) Readings in St. John’s Gospel.

“Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His Beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose – and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin”.

That certainly doesn’t sound like my mindset on Sunday morning. I find my mindset at times is about Me, my feelings, my emotions, and my taste.  My head sounds more like this: “man why don’t they turn the instruments up. Oh please don’t do that song; I wonder where we are going to eat. I wish the lady that sings extremely loud and extremely off key would quit, God are you hearing this lady, if she’d shut it maybe we could hear the leader?” I then go on to rant to myself about how crappy the sound is and if it was turned up I wouldn’t hear the lady belting off key. Oh a song I like comes on so I sing, maybe even raise my hands. But is it worship, or is it a song I like that makes me feel warm and toasty when I sing it? Oh and the kicker “It makes me feel close to God”. Am I worshiping God because of who he is, or how the music makes me feel? As much as I want to be holy and righteous it’s pretty clear where I’m at some Sundays. According to William Temple, the explanation of true God worship is “the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin”. So if I worship the true God, amazingly Ryan would care less for self, which I think would take more supernatural power than turning water into wine! Here’s the thing, I thought it was worship, and it was. It was just directed at feelings, emotions, and self-centeredness. Emotions are God given gifts that are wonderful, powerful expressions, but they are not to be worshiped, and certainly not in place of God.

So why not just scrap music all together? God ask us repeatedly in scripture to worship in song and music, In fact there is a whole book (Psalms) devoted to it, so obviously God made it clear that it is important.

Where to go from here? When we sing songs to God in 1st person it is generally regarded as worship, usually more intimate and personal. For me, it is easier when I find a style that’s not distracting and sing songs to God like we are face to face in the same room, because we are! So that’s the plan for revolution. Take songs that we can relate to, that aren’t distracting and outdated, and use that vehicle (music) to honor and worship God. When worshiping God is it wrong to feel warm and toasty and close to him? No not at all. Again, emotions are created by God, but we can’t let emotions dictate worship. When we feel crappy and dude forgot the lyrics, or the guy on the lead guitar is just muffing notes, do you press on because God deserves to be worshiped? For those that do, that is worship!

by Ryan Rolfe, Worship Leader

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