The Heart of Worship

So.  Tonight I am thinking about the song “The Heart of Worship”.  And while I’ve always really liked that song, it hit home particularly hard tonight.  As probably all of you know by now, I love music.  Really, really love music.  Even though I’m not nearly that good at it myself.  Also as most of you know, I’m one of two pianists at my very small church, the other pianist being my younger sister.  I’m one of three musicians altogether, my sister and I playing piano, the other guy playing guitar.  We switch on and off, to give each other breaks since we’ve all got full-time schedules without music…so one week, piano, one week, guitar, one week piano, so on.  Even so, it gets hectic sometimes trying to keep up variety and making it all sound respectably good and still living an averagely busy life underneath.

What I realized tonight is nothing new…just one of God’s gentle reminders that I seem to need more often than I’d like to admit.  I realized, once again, that it’s not about me…it’s all about Him.  And that applies on so many levels.  Whether I’m playing for worship services or just for my own enjoyment or in small-group settings, it’s not about me.  Not about the small amount of ability that I might have…it’s all about the One who blessed me with that ability.  It’s so tempting to want to make my extension of my dad’s ministry into a display of my talents, small as they are!  And yes, I confess…I sometimes give in to that temptation.  But it’s not about me.  It’s all about You.  Always, always, always.  Period.

It’s also tempting to want to just provide nice music for people to listen to.  And that’s one of the biggest biggies that I struggle with.  I feel so responsible to make sure I’m not going to make any mistakes, to make sure that my arrangements are nice and smooth, to make sure there are enough songs in my repertoire to allow for a variety each week.  That’s not wrong, is it?  No.  It is wrong, however, to try to make worship time into just something pretty and nice.  As my piano teacher always used to say, music should be a bridge…it’s just a tool to help people worship, it isn’t the object of worship itself.  That’s true whether I’m playing at church or at home…”when the music fades, all is stripped away and I simply come.”  That’s such a humbling relief!  I don’t have to make things into a big production, because after all God wants so much more than just songs.  When the music is stripped away, we just come.  That’s what worship is.  When I realize that all I’m doing is aiding the coming, I can relax about my music and just come, too.  The music isn’t important, other than as a tool or a bridge, and while I certainly can and should try to make that bridge nice, it should only be nice as a means of leading people on to Him.  If it were stripped away, none of us would be much if any poorer, really.  God wants so much more than just songs…He wants hearts.  And if the music is getting in the way of those hearts, mine or other people’s, maybe it’s best that it’s stripped away.

So…yeah.  That’s what’s on my mind just now.  It’s exciting and humbling and convincting and all that sort of thing all rolled together.

~c. a.

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