Today, I got to sleep in. I woke up, read some Psalms and read some of Matthew. I played guitar for awhile, played with my kitty, and then Eric came over. I cooked lunch; we split a quesadilla and had burgers without buns. Then we made some cookies and watched a bit of TV. After a couple hours, he took off, and I got some stuff together for worship tonight.
I met up with a friend from the high school group, Michael Vawter, and we played around with a few worship songs in preparation for tonight. Then we went to the church, did a little tech stuff, and practiced some more. James Wallis and Eric Irvin helped us out, too, so we had some percussion (my cajon, played by Eric) and some harmony as well as the dual guitars and vocals of Michael and I. We played Jesus Paid It All, You Said, and a kinda blues-y arrangement of Jesus Messiah that really rocked.
Michael and I were talking about how performance-oriented music has become. Music was such a cultural thing; everybody participated in music. Now it's become a very distinct seperation between the few talented onstage, and a crowd of on-lookers. This has also become very distinct in the worship setting. Many, many churches and other worship meetings generally have a band onstage with scores, hundreds or even thousands of people merely observing.
See, I think this is why I have such a hard time worshiping when I'm out in the congregation (see also: audience). I feel like I'm supposed to be watching some performance, and not participating in the music/worship. When I'm leading, or even playing in a band (come to think of it, it doesn't even have to be a worship band. Any music inspires this:) I truly feel like I am worshiping. I'm pouring out my music and gifts to God in worship. When I'm in an audience/congregation, I'm not participating, and the whole stage thing displaces me from participation; it directs my attention forward and not outward and upward. Now, I have been at some concerts (and worship events) where I've been able to "participate" from the audience, and it's truly a memorable experience.
An interesting question was raised tonight:
Do you really believe in Jesus if you're not willing to live the life he asks of us?
God sent Jesus so that whoever believed in him...
What does belief mean? If you claim to believe in Jesus, but you don't live like him, do you really, truly believe? I believe that jumping from an airplane without a parachute is deadly, so I don't do it. I believe that Jesus is the most revolutionary person ever, and truly understood living in a way that honors God, so I (try to) make every effort to live as he did.
Do you believe in Jesus, or is he just another good idea; your good-luck charm and get-out-of-hell-free card?
I haven't said this in awhile, but please respond if something in this post strikes you.
Ben Harper - White Lies For Dark Times
(This guy has some serious soul and talent.)