I love to learn about worship. I love to listen to the latest worship music and hear about the creative ways that churches use to incorporate worship into their identity. I've read many books on worship leading, listened to teachings & sermons on worship, traveled to different churches to watch what they do. I've studied the history of worship in churches and denominations around the world. I love talking with people about worship, because talking out what I think helps me solidify my beliefs. Living in our wealthy culture, there are resources upon resources available to me to enhance my understanding of worship. There are more than enough viewpoints and orders of service out there for me to think about and get my hands on.
But all of those things I just mentioned are mere supplements to the true knowledge of worship. In reality, there is one thing I need to learn about worship...and I need to learn it well. Interestingly though, many of the supplements I listed above do not take me to this one thing. They take me to creating song lists, how to work with your pastor for Sunday mornings, how to deal with musicians - to audition or not audition? That is the question, etc. Where can I find the newest sound equipment? They take me to creating a 'worship atmosphere' that is comfortable for the congregants and welcoming of people of all varying walks and situations. They teach me about the importance of enhancing my musical talent and how to sell many of my own worship CD's. They ask me to question how much of my song lists should be rehearsed versus spontaneous. Yet, with all these topics, it is still true that there is only one thing I need to learn about worship...and I need to learn it well.
I need to learn the One that I am worshiping. I need to learn the object upon whom my worshiping affections will be cast. I need to learn the One, inside and out. I need to learn the One I am worshiping. I need to know Him. I need to know His thoughts. I need to know His dance moves, His emotions. And...I need to know what pleases Him.
What do you get for a God who has everything? What makes Him tick? What can I possibly bring that would please such a perfectly beautiful being?
I have no money, no fame, and many mistakes, yet, daily I can bring Him this question: "Father, what do you desire from me today?" Our Western culture consistently ingrains in us the drive for self-gratification. This drive has spilled over into our churches and into our approach to the King of kings. Worship is relationship, not a great musical performance or expression. Worship is not lights, projectors, smoke machines and drum shields...it's not even my Roland keyboard that I love with oh so much of my heart! A "good" time of worship has NOTHING to do with how tight the band was musically or whether the songs played were my very favorite. Worship is Other-mindedness. It is every day. It is covenant partnership...a love relationship. It is sacrificing my desires to prefer what my Significant Other adores.
How do we know what pleases Him? Ask Him. He speaks. He speaks well. He speaks so well that when words are uttered from His mouth worlds come into existence. He speaks so well that all of the created order is sustained by His voice. We have a 66 book manual of His preferences and the things that bring pleasure to His heart. It's the Word. He is the Word. Read it. Know it. Do it. Know Him. Learn Him and proactively surprise Him with what excites Him. Daily. Right now. Abide in Him and learn His likes and dis-likes, His opinions and pet-peeves, His joys and delight.
I do not need one more worship leader conference or book on how to create a song list. I need to know One thing and I need to know Him well. Out of that knowing will spill the Great the Commandment, a love for Him that encompasses and requires every part of my being...a true worshiping heart.Welcome to "for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer", through death we will never part. Welcome to my life's pursuit.