Leading or Obstructing Worship?

Posted by on Jun 27, 2012 in Observations

A parable.

There were two people standing on a hill. They were there to admire a magnificent sunset. One person said, “I want you to really enjoy the sunset. It is such a glorious sunset. It is a sunset like you have never seen before. In fact, it is the most wonderful sunset in the universe.”

The other said, “If you feel it is such a wonderful sunset, why are you standing facing me instead of looking at the sunset? Why are you blocking my view?”

The first person said, “Well, it is because I have seen sunsets before and I can tell you this is a grand sunset. There is nothing like it. I can quote you from this big book about sunsets and Ican tell you about the property of sunsets and I can describe the frequency of the light and wavelengths and the refraction of light and I have brought you to this special place so you can see this wonderful sunset. Don’t you think it is a grand sunset?”

The other replied, “I hear all your words, but you are still getting in my way. I can’t see this beautiful sunset. Quite frankly I would rather see the sunset than look at you.”

Don’t you find the worship team rather distracting? Ostensibly they are pointing to the glory of God, encouraging you to worship in thanksgiving and praise, but don’t you find they get in the way. The women in beautiful clothes are gyrating to our exciting rhythm. The men, feeling bashful are doing their best to stand tall and proud. It is such a fascinating scene it is very hard to think of the sunset, i.e. the glory and wonder of God.

Surely, if the sunset is so beautiful, if God is so immense and magnificent, why do they need to incite us into praising Him? Why don’t they just step aside and allow us to look outside the window at the beautiful scenery God created; if at nothing else, the lovely clouds passing by or a starry night? Why have humans always built cathedrals with beautiful stain glass windows ostensibly to the glory of God, yet in fact they evoke praise, to the architect and the builders and all the wonderful preachers that have exhorted from within? Why do we have a raised dais for the preacher, solemn dignitaries on either side, flags and a beautifully robed choir behind? Doesn’t it smack of the Nuremberg rallies which were constructed very much in the same way? Why? Because mankind is so ambivalent about seeing God they would much prefer to have an intermediary who told them about God so that they can have a second hand experience of God. The first hand experience of God is too startling, too awesome, too demanding of change. It was after Isaiah saw the Lord “high and lifted up” that he became aware of his sinfulness and desired to be cleansed. It is time we stopped inducing worship with the worship team or choir from in front.

Did you ever think, if the preacher, the leader of the congregation, is to lead the congregation anywhere, he has problems? 1. He can’t see where he is going because he would have to walk backwards. 2. He is likely to be the first one who trips and falls. No, the preacher who stands facing the congregation won’t move from that position precisely so the congregation doesn’t have to move. They are quite content to have him enshrined so nobody has to change.

It is time worship leading, worship and preaching are done from the back of the congregation, with the congregation standing in wonder and awe, looking at the beauty of the creation God made so that He would be glorified.