I know that Whole Life Worship might seem to discount the role of music and song in worship. If you’ve sensed this tendency, it’s only because we have made worship of God all about the music in our current culture. Worship is so much more than music or the song.
That being said, music and song has a huge role in worshiping God. In fact, it has so many contributing facets to helping us surrender our lives to God – which is the essence of all worship.
I want to look at one facet of the song today: encouragement.
The other day a friend suggested that I listen to a song by a well-known Christian artist (“Grace” by Laura Story). Now it might surprise you that I don’t really listen much to Christian music, even though I am a Worship Pastor. I like to sing Christian songs in worship, but I really don’t take time to listen to them. But I respect this friend’s opinion, so when I had a moment, I listened to the song
The first time I heard it, I just noticed a couple of the phrases (I was multi-tasking; eating my lunch while it was playing). But the second time I listened more intently, and I was floored! It spoke deeply to my soul. Tears started streaming down my face as I reflected on the sacredness of the journey to which God has called, and especially the grace that constantly surrounds me in my inconsistent response to this pilgrimage.
I was deeply, deeply encouraged.
Songs of the faith, whether they are old or new and regardless of the style, speak encouragement to the heart – if we let them. And we need so much encouragement as we pursue a lifestyle that is so counter-cultural, so fraught with resistance (within and without), and so hard to grasp at times. Encouragement literally means to “infuse heart strength” (cour is French for heart; Latin cor). And the song of faith is particularly designed to infuse heart strength in following the Way of Christ.
But in order for the song to encourage, we need to slow down to hear it.
And while I’ll never be a “consumer” of Christian music (1. I’m a tightwad and 2. there’s so much out there that it’s hard to know what to listen to), I am challenged to allow Christian music – and all music that displays the truth and grace that Christ came to display – to infuse heart strength into my acts of Whole Life Worship.
What songs of the faith have encouraged you in the Way?
How can you slow down and listen to the music?