If there is one element to corporate worship that I wish every church could follow, it is this—balance. Balance is needed any every area of one’s life…in the area of finances, in interpersonal relationships, in employment, etc. Balance is also needed in every element of a church service. Corporate worship during a song service is no exception.
I’ve led and participated in thousands of services in my 20+ years of following Christ. I’ve seen a lot; I’ve done a lot. I’ve served churches in more than one denomination. I’ve sung in churches of many denominations. Every church has its own personality. Every personality is an extension of their theology.
One area where theology comes prominently to display is in the area of rejoicing. How exuberantly and freely a congregation worships is keenly associated with the preaching from its pulpit. It is inescapable. It is undeniable.
I want to focus today’s entry on the area of rejoicing in biblical balance.
We are commanded to rejoice (Phil. 4:4). A heart that has first seen its wretchedness and sinfulness and then seen the beauty of Christ’s provision through the cross can’t help but rejoice. Here’s the rub—how do we know if we are rejoicing biblically? How far is too far? When am I being too reserved?
I believe Psalms 2:11 holds the key:
Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling.
There you have it! A perfect balance for worship! The psalmist solves the issue most sufficiently. Unfortunately, many folks forget the balance that is there.
I’ve seen many worshipers who are far more concerned with being reverent that they seem to leave off rejoicing (notice I say “seem to” because who can know the heart?). Others are so busy rejoicing that they seemingly forget the trembling.
In this “equation” there is certainly an element of individual inclination and personality. What one man’s rejoicing looks like might be different in another man. It is the same with reverence. To put objective laws of expression into the “worship formula” might be a little risky. However, over the course of an individual’s life, relatively speaking, there should be balance between these two seemingly contradictory elements.
I’ve talked to many as they struggle for this balance. When one is trying to learn how to rejoice more, they are threatened by the concept of fearing God. When one is trying to learn more reverence, they conversely bristle at the exhortation to rejoice. This works individually and corporately. Why is this so?
Could it be that too often we are erroneously reacting to erroneous excess? Could it be that many times we are offended at those who seemingly are either too flippant in their rejoicing or too stodgy in their reverence that we don’t ever want to be seen in that light and over-compensate?
At this point, I can see that I will only get the ball rolling on this item today. Hopefully, I have at least got you started to think about this issue. I will continue on with the subject in my next post.