We recently received a comment card regarding our worship service at Crossroads. In general, it was a positive, but it seems that we failed big time in our worship – we asked people to “be seated” while singing one song. It seems that this individual found that restrictive of her worship – maybe too controlling – as she wanted to be free to sit, or stand, (or dance?) as she felt would best worship God. She felt that she should be allowed to do what she felt like.
My first thought was that this was fairly ironic. Just a few weeks ago our guest worship leader lost track of things and didn’t have us relax our position (i.e., sit) during his part of the service. Of course that meant we were innundated with comments about “having to stand” too long.
My second thought was that it wasn’t standing or sitting for worship that concerned me about this comment. Rather it is the desire to do worship on our own terms. Corporate worship is to be done “decently and in order”, it is to be the gathered congregation worshiping in unity as led by the godly leadership. Corporate worship is not the place for each one to do whatever they feel like, but for each one to submit to what God is doing in the midst of all of those gathered.
I don’t think that this comment was a reflection of a rebellion … more likely a reflection of a Christian experience shaped in a consumer culture. I certainly would not want to see standing (or sitting) become another flashpoint in a “worship war.” It was just a comment that made me stop and think. (Someday I’ll have to write about the young men who wore hats to worship – now that’s something to get riled up about!) I’m glad that our guest came, and that she appreciated the message, and the music. I hope that she returned, even if wasn’t all she wanted. The great act of worship is often that we just show up and submit to our God. It is being there that makes the difference, not what we get to do.