I plan to write a series of blog posts about worship. I have no particular axe to grind but want to write on this only because it is an interesting and a beautiful topic. As a Christian I worship the Lord daily and as a pastor, I am called to lead God’s people in their Sunday worship.
Scripture calls us to worship God. Remaining only with the Psalms, we read texts such as:
- Psalm 29:2—Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.
- Psalm 95:6—Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
- Psalm 96:9—Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
- Psalm 99:5,9—Exalt the Lord our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he!… Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy!
- Psalm 100:2—Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
- Psalm 132:7—“Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool!”
There is a difference between worship and service. Although there is overlap, there is distinction. We serve God all day long in our respective offices and callings; we worship God at certain moments of the day, privately, as family, and corporately on the Lord's Day. Worship describes certain moments when we stop our regular activities and focus our hearts on the Lord.
In these blog posts I want to address our corporate worship rather than personal and family worship. To narrow the topic a bit more, I want to focus on our corporate singing. Worship wars past, present, or future do not interest me, but I love singing.
When it comes to worship, the command that rules is what we read in texts such as 1 Corinthians 14:40—But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. In Colossians 2:5 Paul says that he rejoices “…to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.” There are two important confessional statements on worship. Lord’s Day 35 of the Heidelberg Catechism says that we are to worship God in a manner that he has commanded in his word and Article 7 of the Belgic Confession teaches that the whole manner of worship which God requires of us is written down in scripture.
Singing is a very important part of worship and needs to be governed by such biblical texts and confessional statements.
In the next post in this little series I want to look at some scriptural givens about singing, what we are doing when we sing, and to begin thinking about what our singing should sound like.