I don’t mean to be. Really. I want to worship. And I know the whole thing about how worship isn’t supposed to be pleasing to me, but rather my worship is supposed to be pleasing to God. But in most times designated as “worship,” usually kicked off by somebody saying “worship with us,” I don’t.
The picture is from a sign I found in the sound booth in the balcony of the sanctuary at Richardson FUMC. Apparently I wasn’t supposed to be in there, but the door to the balcony was unlocked and I ducked through it seeking privacy on a phone call. If you’re unfamiliar with the workings of your church’s A/V crew, the sign isn’t asking, “What did you just say?” as you might infer, but rather, “Which mic are you using?” It’s used to sort out confusion when the real estate lady singing the special music comes to the stage Sunday morning and grabs the wrong mic. The sign goes up in the booth, someone from the stage indicates by number the mic in use. Or it’s possibly a reminder to the pastor to make sure that he’s turned on his wireless mic. Some kind of communication from the booth to the stage.
Knowing all of that from years of performance and other years of leading worship, I struggle to worship when it’s “time to worship.” I think it’s because I know that most of the people that are leading worship (myself included) are thinking about something else. If I can tell you’re focusing on production value, that’s where my attention will follow you. I think that’s why my favorite musical worship setting remains voices raised around a single acoustic instrument, singing familiar songs. Or learning new ones. But with nothing else to think about–no feedback issues, slide order, seizing video, or failing monitor mixes. I can tell when you’re lost in the details, and it distracts me. And I’m sure it distracts others when I’m up there.
I do worship. A lot. But it’s usually outside of what we usually consider “a time of worship.” In many ways it’s deepened me spiritually, as I have reengaged places of worship beyond the church building and means of worship beyond singing. I’d encourage you to be genuine in your practice of worship. If it’s Top 40 Praise for you, sing unto the Lord. If it’s not, don’t just stand dismissively off to the side, muttering your disdain. Find your own voice in worship. May it be pleasing to God.
See? I didn’t even mention how much of the current crop of worship songs I find unpalatable, musically & theologically speaking. I was good.