Sunday, March 11, 2012

Worship Wars

Many years ago, worship wars were the thing to discuss. Which is better? The old hymns sung like a dirge or the lively rock music that deafened ears? I held an opinion back then, and today after doing something I rarely do, that was reinforced.
So what did I do today that I rarely do? I stayed home from church. My girls were teaching my class, which I asked earlier because I am on-call for work. I have no scheduled visits today, but the phone I have to carry. I have been working long days all week. Yesterday became a particularly long day with much stress. Combine that with the time change and slow moving, I just decided I couldn't get ready for church today. I then stumbled upon Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church live streaming.
As I listened to the hymns and praise songs, quite a few in the beginning, I remembered the wars of worship songs. I had left the Presbyterian church and engaged in a pentecostal church admist all the rumbling. I would shake my head as I drove around observing all the main line demonminations having two services- traditional and contemporary. No one is getting it, I thought.
I believed then and still do today is it is not the style or the band in the background that helps the worship. A leader to bring the congregation into the Lord's presence creates the difference. Every year, Pennsylvania Sunday School Association has their statewide meeting. On two occasions, I attended, an elderly gentleman led the hymns out of hymnal with the gusto of any guitar playing young fellow. Such theology in the hymns sung by participating Christians lifted my soul, and I believe most in the sanctuaries.
My argument then and now, is it is not contemporary or traditional, it is Spirit led. As I watched and listened and participated from my computer chair to the Florida church service, I thought denomination doesn't matter, as long as Jesus is lifted up.
I also thought, God doesn't have any grandchildren, but the pastor of this church is Billy Graham's grandson. No trace of the candance from his grandfather or uncle, Franklin. Tulllian has a fantastic testimony where he was as far from God as a person can get, yet now he preaches faboulsy on scandulous grace. No power points or note taking, just an open Bible for me.
Just like the worship wars of years ago, Tullian's message brings to mind the difference felt in some churches. What is the spirit in the church? Is it freedom from performance or is it works driven. A Christian's idenity is in Jesus alone, what He did on the cross, nothing that a person can do. Yes, we try to live holy, but as Tullian preaches, the ten commandments just shows how we can never do them all. It shows our beggarship. It shows our desperate need. As his daughter entering teen years, loses her temper six times a day and always comes for forgiveness, he has a tendency to say, "I'll forgive you when you show you can really act right." But he goes on, "God never says that. He will forgive you ten thousand a day-scandulous grace." That is hard for us to get our mind around. Because our humaness, says enough already-Those are my words.
Until we can truly grasp the truth there is nothing  we do to earn God's love, we just are loved if we accept it, worship wars will continue.
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