KEEPING THE FAITH: Get Out!!!

Published: Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 09:50 AM.

Which of these styles is “right?” I don’t presume to know. Our form of worship will always be dictated by our traditions, our culture, and our context. A look at how Christians from other countries and times worship proves this point. “Which worship style is right” is, after all, the wrong question.

The better questions are, “Does our worship push us out of our church sanctuaries (or wherever it is we meet) to be Christ to the world? What happens when the worship service is over?” These are the more appropriate questions.

If our worship moves us past ourselves to the risen and redeeming Christ sent to love the world, then the worship is “right.” If our worship sends us into the community as the Father sent his own Son, then it is empowered with spirit and truth. But if our worship focuses us, even in subtle ways, on ourselves, then it is selfishness at best and sacrilege at worst. It isn’t worship at all.

The final words of the old Latin mass were, Ite missa est – “Get out!” The priests who daily invoked these words over their congregations understood worship’s purpose. When the last song is sung, the last prayer offered, and the last homily delivered, the goal of all worship is to redemptively and missionally leave the sanctuary in service to others.

So, take your pick: Sermons or liturgy; southern gospel or rock and roll; drums or pipe organs; corporate prayer or contemplation; kneeling benches or mosh pits. But if these things do not translate into loving action in the community, if these things do not force us out of the building and out to others, we aren’t being worshipful at all. Do our worship styles matter? Sure they do. But what happens afterwards matters all the more.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


 



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