#399 – Disengaging from Worship

One of my favorite parts about summer camp is the opportunity to worship God through music. There aren’t many sounds sweeter than a room full of students praising and worshipping their God. Last night in chapel the worship leader taught the students some different postures for worship: like hands raised, bowed down or jumping around. It was a great lesson for the students about more fully engaging with worship through music.

I was onboard with everything the worship leader said until the end.

She finished by saying that the only unacceptable posture for worship is one of disinterest or disengagement. We can’t really worship God if we’re disinterested or disengaged, whether that’s because we’re tired or because we don’t like a song. I agree with her but I also have a problem with disengaging from worship when I don’t like a song.

And right after she said that we started singing a song that I really don’t like.

Whomp whomp.

I felt pretty convicted to engage with the song to the best of my ability. I really tried my best but it was difficult. The song has some lyrics that I find theologically unsound and it also has some lyrics that I think are just plain silly. Trying to sing the song distracted me as much as my own thoughts so I just stopped singing.

Even though I disengaged from the song, I didn’t disengage from God.

Instead of singing I just started praying. I didn’t want to check out from God but I didn’t really want to sing the song either. So I thought that I could use that time to talk to God, thank him for the day and ask him to speak to our students. I don’t know if that was the best choice but I know it was better than rolling my eyes and looking at my watch.

Ideally we would be able to worship God through any song. Maybe as I become more mature in Christ the song won’t matter. Until that day, though, there are going to be songs we don’t like. But instead of just checking out when we don’t feel like singing, we can try to stay engaged with God through other means.

How do you engage with God when you don’t like a worship song?

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3 Responses to “#399 – Disengaging from Worship”

  1. Scott, maybe we should ideally be able to worship God through an and every form of worship conceivable, from the Highest High Church Mass to the most foot-stomping, Bible-thumping revival tent meeting. But I’m not convinced. God created us with unique personalities and preferences; and while this does *not* mean we should *never* push oursleves to worship outside our “comfort zone,” nor does it mean we should be made to feel guilty by worship leaders like this one who suggest that, if a particular way of worship doesn’t engage us (and of course, being a Christian nerd like yourself, I am hearing Patrick Stewart in my head!) that there’s something wrong with us or we are somehow dishonoring God.

    Let me be clear, I totally agree with your conclusion. It being the case that no one will like everything about a given worship service, and given the truth that worship exists not to entertain us or even, primarily, for us “to get something out of it,” but to serve God, we should stay as engaged as possible. “Full and active participation,” as Vatican II put it. But I just wanted to affirm your discomfort with what the worship leader said.

    • I think it’s more about engagement than anything. You’re right; there are myriad ways we can engage with God. So even if we don’t like a song, we should look for other ways to engage with God. I run into trouble when I allow a song I don’t like to keep me from engaging at all.

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