Thursday, September 3, 2015

Incline your ear

What's your worship style?

As a member of a worship "team," I sometimes feel like I'm under scrutiny. Do I have the right stage presence? It's not a performance, but there is still pressure to behave properly and have a certain look.

I have been in churches that described their own worship sessions using terms like "freedom" and "Spirit-led." To me it seemed like it gave extroverts an excuse to scream, cry, and dance around. I don't take issue with their expression; only with it being labeled as something more spiritual. I only mean that others can be touched deeply too, without it coming to the surface. Does there have to be an outward manifestation? Are there other ways to see fruit?

People can adapt to different cultural norms for worship, which isn't a bad thing. It is completely respectful to rein in one's personal preferences, to sit and stand (or clap your hands!) on command, or to sing songs that are in a different style than desired. Casting off preferences is an act of service, too. There is plenty of this that goes on at our church in Russia, as many songs are translations of Western songs, with different keys and lyrics than might be common in the Russian tradition.

But I'm getting kind of sidetracked. Without going into all the intricacies of worship music and personality differences, I was once again meditating on how I was to worship. And the words came to me: Incline your ear. Which occurs in scripture in several places, though the wording is different in different translations.

For example:
My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding...(Proverbs 2:1, 2 NASB)

For simplicity's sake, we'll say it means to listen. Except that when I'm singing, I often feel like I actually want to tilt my head and lean in closer, as if I'll hear it better-as if the words might have a better chance of reaching my heart.

And that's what I think about when I'm singing up there...or offstage, or at home, or wherever! I just want to absorb the truths in the words as best I can. Maybe it's not straight scripture, but I can stand with others in agreeing about whatever it is the worship songs proclaim.

You could say that I'm just being an introvert, wanting to stand there and listen, and not show any reaction. Even when I'm in a community worship setting and even when I'm supposed to be helping lead, I just want to listen. But it's not necessarily a passive thing. However, I guess you could say I do lose some inhibitions, as doing anything onstage is normally a bit intimidating.

Is there anything wrong with just being yourself when you sing to God? Have you ever received a personal revelation about how you worship? Do you think your everyday personality changes when you "enter in" to worship?

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