Fem Speakers

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I've had some of the same experiences in church, thinking the "worship" part contrived and manipulative, even invasive.

After all, worship is personal, between the individual and God, and I've always thought the hymn that goes, "My God and I go in the fields together, we walk and talk as good friends...," expresses what worship really means.

Historically, and now as well, many churches have tried to create a physical environment that prompts and enhances private worship, allowing eveyone to bring to the environment whatever they carry with them, and experience it inwardly in their own way.

As a Baptist, those environments, thought often beautiful, seem contrived to me. Though I understand many people find them useful and satisfying.

But, I totally agree, that it's something we bring there, and create within ourselves, and it's private.

As for the hymns,I don't have the Jewish background to remind me, but, I've read enough history to know that many of my own ancestors, suffered at the hands of "Christian" invaders who were not Christian at all in how they subjugated and "converted" many of their religious conquests.

Many of those beautiful hymn tunes come from Pagan Welsh hymns, their original poetic lyrics replaced by Christian's choices of words. And, many other pagan hymns were evidently lost forever through the misplaced zeal of Christians who considered them evil.

Sometimes as I listen to them and see their generic hymn names, I wonder what those who originally wrote them were saying, how they felt, and what their lyrics said. I imagine those beautiful Welsh choirs and soloists singing passionately their own message in their own way. And I wish they had been allowed to continue and be preserved for their and our sakes.

"...they would like everything from everywhere: pentecostal hand clapping and food stomping, black gospel, anglican liturgy, christian pop, U2, Evanescence, Jars of Clay, obscure weird hymns (Adam lay ibounden, anyone?), and Mozart. Give them a stab at church worship, and the service would look like a tuna casserole with asparagus, M&Ms, lavender honey, coffe grounds and strawberries.." I am laughing out loud here, because that really is me, and if I could have my way that is what I'd do...and I'd be in church by myself, no doubt. You know, planning a worship service is MUCH harder than it used to be. It used to be, at least in Baptist or Baptist-type churches, we knew exactly what to expect. There was a piano on one side of the platform and an organ on the opposite side. There was often a choir. There was a hymnal, and there were usually four hymns.

Now, even the Lutherans down the road are struggling to have both contemporary and traditional music. And I am struggling to get our worhsip leader to just include ONE traditional hymn once in a while.


Nonetheless, there are times I know we have worshipped. In spirit and in truth. I wish I could formulize what makes that happen...but I can't.

Yeah, worship WAY too often becomes a spectator sport, with pewside quarterbacks second-guessing every "play." (rolling eyes)

The REALLY tricky thing is to make worship what it ought to be, and that is a CORPORATE experience. NO spectators permitted! Like it or not, all present lay their lives before the Living God and encounter what that awesome One has to communicate to us all.

(Like I've EVER, even ONCE, experienced such a service! But quite a few have come close, and it's still the goal I advocate in worship planning.)

Galina, you are correct about where the redemption of worship begins: in the human heart and soul. I can't change how anyone else plans or (non)participates in worship, but I *can* permit God to remake my heart and shake up my soul.

Thank you for posting this. It spoke to me.

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