I would love a wider breadth of worship music on a Sunday.
I’ve got a bunch of personal reasons why I’d like more variety and why the lack of variety frustrates me. That said, there is more to my frustration than simply my own personal desire for a space and time that reflects my experience.
Essentially this is not just about me. At least, that’s how the story goes in my mind so hopefully there is some truth to it.
There are some really important practical problems with an always up beat worship experience.
I think that we teach theology, expectations and actions in our worship. And if I’m right then perhaps we should spend more time critically thinking about the worship we present at church.
If worship teaches theology was does it teach?
That God makes us feel good.
That God will come.
That God fixes.
That God changes everything for the better.
This theology will directly impact expectations. However I’m not particularly worried about the expectations of the church. Those are absolutely skewed but the church, for the most part, knows when it’s being serious and when it’s being more rhetorical.
For those new to our spaces however, this may pose a problem.
What does it say to someone who comes to church broken and looking, sings songs about how God will comes, how he will fix and how everything will be better. Then reflects back on their life months later to see the same brokenness present. What happens when they see that their life isn’t perfect and mended? What happens when they stand in a service look around at all the other “happy” people and realize they are alone? What has to go through their mind?
What didn’t I do?
Why doesn’t God love me like them?
Why isn’t God fixing it?
Does God even care?
Is God even real?
Maybe it’s a step to far. But I doubt it.
If every Sunday we drill the theology of happy people living happy lives because God has made it that way this expectation will happen.
All because we couldn’t be open and honest without pain. All because we want to be happy on a Sunday rather than real.
And this leads nicely into my last thought (almost like I planned it).
In worship we talk about doing a lot of things; raising hands, bowing our knee, giving over our lives, trusting God, etc.
How many of them do we actually do? Some church are better than others but there aren’t many where people literally bow their knee when they say they are bowing before Christ.
We just talk about all the things we do and then wonder why we can’t get people involved in each other’s lives. Why we can’t build spaces that people feel safe to be open about their doubt and pain. Why we can’t get people to volunteer or to give back to their community or talk to their neighbour or do literally anything that would bring them closer to being like Christ.
It’s so pervasive it’s almost like there is something happening every Sunday teaching them and encouraging them to say one thing and do another. Something teaching them to hide the honest reality of their life because somewhere it’s being reinforced that the honest expression means they don’t know God or worse God isn’t even there.
Thank goodness we’d never do something like that every single Sunday…