When we moved to Mississippi, we started attending a reformed Presbyterian church. Previously, I had attended independent churches and Baptist churches, and I had become accustomed to "contemporary worship," where there is a worship leader up front and anywhere from one guitar to a whole band, leading the congregation in singing a variety of songs ranging from traditional hymns to the most current Christian worship songs.
While I agree theologically with the tenants of my current church, and I have made some wonderful friends here, the style of worship is quite different from what I described above. We sing an opening hymn, read a scripture, sing another hymn, have the sermon and pastoral prayer and collection, then sing a closing hymn, followed by the benediction. My husband and I have had an ongoing discussion about this style of worship, and how I feel somewhat constrained by it.
"But it's Biblical!" He says.
"But I miss contemporary worship!" I say.
"Why aren't you content to sing the old hymns? They are theologically rich!"
"I love the hymns, I just want contemporary stuff, too!"
We have had countless discussions in this vein over the past two years. Today, during the sermon, I finally realized what it is. Our Reformed University Fellowship minister was preaching on Philippians chapter 2, about humility. True humility, he said, flows from being able to focus on Christ, and take our focus off of ourselves. That's when it hit me. It was not the style of music that was the issue with our current church. It was the scarcity of it. In all of the other churches where I have been a member, we would sing several songs at the beginning of the service. Song is the way that I am wired to really enter in to worship, to be able to forget myself and focus solely on Christ. In the car on the way home, I told my husband of this realization.
"It's not the style of music. It's that we only sing one hymn at a time, and if I don't know it, I have to focus on the notes and singing the right words, rather than on Jesus. If I'm singing a song that I know, I can just worship. Also singing more than one song gives me more time to enter in with my whole heart."
It just all makes so much sense now. Maybe the solution, for me, is to listen to worship songs at home, and sing my heart out to God. I'm just so thankful that He revealed to me what it is I've been missing. It's Him. It's always Him. Seems so obvious... but in my humanness, I have been blinded to the Truth. Now that I can see again, maybe I will have better focus, and He will enable me to grow in humility.