Wednesday, 22 February 2006

Green bottles, real coffee and worshiping God

A great discussion started up at Warwick CU chat, on the subject of the singing type of worship. Some of the references won't make sense without reading the previous few comments on that page, but you'll get the gist anyway, so here were my 2 centimes:

Good thoughts. It's not easy to discuss stuff like this cos we have a tendency to each immediately assume what we like is being 'got at'! Especially since in CU we get together from different backgrounds. So good on youse. A few thoughts, not particularly from me... Ever unpack the couple of NT references to singing? Worth looking at carefully :)
(God through Paul in Eph 5:17-20) Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
1) Singing songs of worship is encouraged - making melody can be done in a great way!
2) It's contrasted with being foolish and drunk: so I don't think 10 green bottles is gonna make great worship song no matter what your heart's doing ;-)
3) It's an expression of being filled with the Spirit, so it's going to be in line with his Word and his fruit. So songs and the way in which they're done are going to express the fruit of the Spirit and the Word of the Spirit - so the words sung and the way it's sung matter.
4) In singing, we're "addressing one another". So it's not just between me and God. It's God and us: me and all my bro's & sisters, addressing one another. So will this song help me address my brothers & sisters to build 'em up in Christ?
5) It's also "to the Lord". We get to praise God the Father :o through Jesus :D by his Spirit!
6) And as if anticipating that some of us might get so keen on the Spirit helping us to sing to God that we forget the rest of the Spirit's work (like unity, love, holiness, patience with one another, etc...), the Spirit inspires Paul to add, "submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."

(God through Paul again in Colossians 3:12-17) Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
1) Again, it's all in the context of being one body in humility loving one another and building each other up!
2) It's part of the Word of Christ dwelling in you (plural) richly - will singing these particular songs together really help get God's word richly deep down into us? Yeah, what a goal!
3) And whatever you do - singing included - don't forget that the only way that you can do it and the only reason why you're doing it is in the name of the Lord Jesus. I.e. when you sing, make sure what you sing (maybe not each song, but a set) recognises that you're only able to praise God because of Jesus, you're coming through him - don't let that be assumed cos next you know, it'll be forgotten.

Y'know, sometimes we settle for so little! We reassure each other and content ourselves with things that sure, are true! But they're really ickle, flimsy, digging a ditch in the sand truths, rather than the huge, deep, awesome church-building, God-enjoying and glorifying Grand Canyon truths! You may well have thankfulness in your heart as you sing 10 green bottles, or sing meaningfully that these are the days of Elijah (tho' what meaning I'm not sure), or truly worship Jesus using a song you could just as easily sing to your boyfriend. But looking at these verses, God's view of what we could be doing in our songs is much, much greater! :D Don't be content with the least; aim for God's goals so you all together, grow in glorifying (wow!) and enjoying (whoah!) HIM! :D

Then I see that a great new blog conversation has started up, and started on this very topic: The Coffee Bible Club Blog. I've learnt and continue to learn a lot from these two guys, Andy and Dave, so I think their conversation will be well worth listening in to (it already is, in fact). They're full of God's grace, centred on God's gospel, preaching and living the gospel of grace by the power of God's Holy Spirit. My Mum says that the Relay slogan, Encourage the good wherever you find it, and if you can't find it, look harder! has always been hers for working with children with special educational needs - but these guys teach me what it looks like in working with, well, everybody. And especially students :)

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