So, I'm reading this book called All About Worship. It's a collection of essays from various people discussing what worship is and what our place is in worship. I find it intriguing. I can't say that I'm all about all of the essays. Some of them seem to have a great idea but kind of meander off with it so that I can no longer be like, "heck, yes!" Instead all I can give them is, "I can see what you're trying to say."
The essay I'm in the middle of right now is about full-time worship ministry. It's extremely interesting, and I may need to find a way to share it with some of my friends. Anyway, part of the reason I love it is because it's soooo not about me! :P I believe I recently wrote a blog that referred to the fact that I love hanging with and talking with artsy people, people who relate to God through the arts. I love the artists and the songwriters, the musicians and the vocalists, the sculptors and the architects. I love their passion and insight. It's unique. For example, I love the drawings my sister does when she interprets a Bible verse! Oh my gosh! It rocks my socks off every time. I like to think I love hanging with these people because I love the beauty in God's creation and I love the way they seem to be in sync with it. I love the way music and art express emotions and display beauty. I get a lot out of listening to music. I get a lot out of the harmonies and the melody and the lyrics, but I'm not really gifted to make that music...definitely not to write it. I get a lot out of paintings. I love to contemplate art and absorb it, but I'm not gifted to create it. So, like recently, I've been listening to some songs written by a friend of mine. They totally blew my mind away. Were they perfect? No, but they'll get closer. Point is, I was listening to these songs and feeling extremely moved by them...but it also made me think what he was writing about. I mean, the songs have to come from some sort of experience...and it made me really stop to think about him and his life and what these songs told me about him, about God, and about their walk together. That's how I roll. It's weird for me because I know there's a story and an intended meaning...but I don't know how to ask about it...or if I'm even in a place to do so. I don't like to pry. It's similar with my sister's art. She draws these amazing pictures, and when she explains what they mean, whoa! But at the same time, I sit and think about how she came to be in a position to draw that picture. What experiences she's had that influenced it, what it says about her walk with God...Probably none of my business, but with things like art you get a glimpse into another person's soul and are privileged to see a little bit of how they see the world and their Lord. It's awesome, in my opinion.
That's why the passage I just read in my book really stood out to me, thus making it necessary for me to share it with the world...or at least...put it on my blog...like a post-it on my little bulletin board in my little corner of the world.
Right, so here's the passage:
"I believe songwriting is a gift. Songs are written through experience. It is hard to write a song of desperation if you have never been desperate. It is impossible to write a song that is theologically balanced if you do not know the Bible. My point is that I write worship songs out of the experiences of my life and the things that I learn in the Word of God...Songwriting is like opening the door to our personal "junk closet." We open the door and all the "junk" in our lives starts to fall out: insecurity, pride, anger, unforgiveness, to name a few. These things hurt us for a time, but we also get to write songs about them. These songs may speak to others going through the same things. The day to day experiences of my life drive me to write songs. By working an ordinary job, I have an acute understanding of what it is like to need God in a world that does not care for Him at all. Some feel that having more time to devote to prayer and Bible study would make songwriting easier. It might be. On the other hand, we all need to pray, to study the Word and to fellowship with God whether or not we are in the full-time ministry. Songwriting requires gifting and calling which only God can produce. I truly believe that God has gifted people to write worship songs. I also believe that He has "seeded" our lives with the experiences and revelation of the Word that we will need to write the songs He has ordained for us to write. I heard Carol Wimber say, "There are the songs that we write, and then there are the songs that Jesus writes." I know which ones I prefer."
I like the last two paragraphs of the essay, too. So, just to throw them out there:
"We are all full-time worshippers and ministers. Our very lives are to be presented to God as living sacrifices. We do lead worship when we stand before the congregation. But we also lead worship when we are honest at work, love our wives and children, when we feed the poor, preach teh gospel, play with our kids, and in everything else we do down to the most trivial aspects of life.
Let us work to let all we do demonstrate the 'priesthood of the believer' and to bring glory to our God whether we get a church salary or not."