Saturday, February 5, 2011

Worshipful Communication

The modern day church enjoys worship music. Think about how worship music is not only used within the four walls of your church but how it has been carried-out into another sector of the music industry. Worship leaders now lead services and actually go on tour. Worship music available to listen to on the radio, on CDs, Itunes, and Pandora (which in fact, I am listening to right now). It’s great! It’s wonderful: just wonderful that worship music is at the tips of our fingers whenever we need to reconnect with the LORD, be encouraged by a set of lyrics, or simply enjoy listening to some music. I am a Christian music-junky. I grew up with a mother as a Choir director and voice teacher in both school and church so since birth I have head thousands of songs, mostly traditional hymn, worship or classical. I listen to it a lot and have music constantly playing---except when I am praying, I shut it off otherwise I get distracted. My friends will ask “ What’s the title of this song?” or “Who sings this?” and more than likely I will have an answer shortly thereafter or I will squirm like crazy until I know it. Ha. “My name is Joni and I am addicted to worship music (Hi Joni).”

With all that being said, there is a side of singing songs about God that I feel like we’re still missing. I say this because after reading this passage in Colossians, I thought about the context of the words “psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit,” and there’s a different feel to it than just your average worship song. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to minimize the importance of our praise and worship choruses that we currently sing---but do you ever sing of God’s faithfulness to one another? Or admonish one another with all wisdom through song? Read the passage first and allow me to explain this better.

“12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:12-16 ESV

Prior to verse 12, Paul addresses the topic of “Living as Those Made Alive in Christ,” challenging the church to recognize that they are alive in Christ and to rid themselves of their fleshly desires and nature. He says just before verse 12 that we are “being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator,” And that there is now “neither Jew nor Gentile.” Therefore….clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Ok, so you understand as a Christ-follower, you are God’s chosen people---made holy and dearly loved. Other things we do because we have been made alive in Christ is (1) bear with each other (2) forgive one another (3) put on love and (4) let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts. The last portion says that we are to (1) teach, and (2) admonish. I love looking up new words so I went ahead and found the definition for the word admonish and found that this verb means “ to caution, advise, or counsel against something. to reprove or scold, especially in a mild and good-willed manner: The teacher admonished him about excessive noise. to urge to a duty; remind: to admonish them about their obligations.”

That definition makes sense with the context of the verse doesn’t it? How do you teach someone? How do you correct someone when they say something wrong or give advice? The way I teach is usually through explaining, with an eventual limit on patience if the person is not listening or understanding me. If I am correcting someone, it’s usually ridden with pride or I may avoid conflict all together. The avenues to teach and admonish in this passage however seem a little different than the ways we normally teach and admonish. The verse calls us to use avenues through “psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”

Now, you may be asking yourself: “Self, are we supposed to take this literally? Am I really supposed to sing at someone when I am telling them something or when I am telling them what they need to do differently?” HA! Wouldn’t that be fun to have your life as a musical where you just break-out into song at random times? I don’t think we need to carry it to that extreme, but yes, it would be fun. No, I think that what Paul is getting at is that the means that we communicate with one another should be done in such a way that we are worshipful: worshipping God as we communicate with one another. When we simply talk to someone or command someone to do something, it often has a domineering-element to it: “You are doing this wrong.” Or “This is how you need to do this.” Instead of a loving, compassionate, song-like encouragement and urgency from the heart. Are songs not a wonderful gift from God? In the Old Testament and just history in general, song has been a means of teaching one another and telling a story. We often remember better through song. The Psalmists wrote hundreds of songs praising and worshipping God. This verse from Isaiah talks about a singing that will take place in the future (Isaiah 33:20): 20 The LORD will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the LORD.

I know you may be thinking, “Well it makes sense to sing to the Lord and worship but singing to one another is different and kind of weird.” I understand, and I completely see your perspective on that and I recognize that our praise and worship is reserved for the LORD and He alone; but do you see how we communicate with one another should have a sense of ‘sing-ability,’ to it. We should sing from a grateful heart and sing from a heart overflowing with love for our Savior, Jesus Christ. When we communicate with one another, we should remind one another through song or in a melody-like manner which stems from the bottom of our hearts with convictions from the Spirit: not from a commanding, self-righteous dominance. There is a difference in our modern-day worship and this singing that is described. It is my hope that God transforms our hearts in such a way that we teach and admonish one another in worshipful communication.

No comments:

Post a Comment