03 April 2008


Last night, there were a dozen of us at care group, sitting around a friend's living room, singing to the Lord - no electric guitars, no electronic amplification, no sound board - just a simple acoustic guitar accompanied us. Each voice added its own timbre, its own harmony, its own color. The result was a beauty that none of us individually could have created.

Corporate worship is a striking metaphor of the body of Christ. Each contributes his own gift toward the beauty of the whole. As our voices blend together, filling the room, rising in prayer, we begin to understand how the body works and the utter beauty of it.

It doesn't happen in a rush or a hurry.

Unlike a concert, where the music from the stage must be loud enough to drown out those who sing along (after all, you didn't pay to hear me sing, but to hear the band), during worship, we must be able to hear one another and we must be willing to listen to one another in order to harmonize or the result is simply jarring discord.

We must adjust ourselves to what we hear, rather than trying to make others adjust to us. We must be willing to step out and sing the notes that we have been given, rather than trying to sing the notes of another.

However, we must sing the same song, submitting to the one who is leading, or the result is cacophony rather than beauty. Yet the leader must lead people of varying musical abilities. Rather than singing a soaring solo with syncopated rhythms that are difficult to follow, the leader must submit to the duty of leading in a way that makes following not only possible, but agreeable.

This mutual submission makes the beauty of sung worship possible. Mutual submission also makes the beauty of lived worship in the context of covenant community possible. The one is a fitting metaphor for the other.