I have a confession to make. I don’t like church music.
No, I am not trying to start a debate about worship styles, instruments, or lyrics. I basically have the same reaction during worship with an organ and a hymn book as I do with electric guitars and lyrics written last month. Church music and the participation in singing just doesn’t connect with me. Sure, there have been moments when the Holy Spirit has moved during a song and I couldn’t help but respond (even raising my hands!?!), but overall I connect more with the scripture reading, prayers, and sermons.
I am sure there are many people who are the opposite from me. They have a deep connection and a spiritual response to the music while the sermon falls flat for them. And that is fine. I have in the past beat myself up for my lack of enthusiasm and activity during worship singing and have had discussions with my wife about why I don’t always sing and why I cross my arms during the singing.
For me, I am unable to lose myself during worship. I think it is the corporate nature of it. All of these people singing in unison kind of messes with my introverted, loner tendencies. I have a hard time seperating the song from the crowd so I can experience its message and power for myself. This is why I will sometimes stop singing and just read the words and let them dwell into me for a moment.
Singing for me doesn’t allow for dwelling, it only allows for experiencing and activity. I don’t feed off of activity and experiences but stillness, written words, and teaching. The strange part of it is, I love music and have been to many concerts and consider some music as deeply part of my spiritual life.
Thankfully, God has convicted me of hiding behind my personality and refusing to participate just because church music “isn’t my thing”. I have discovered ways to remind myself that worship is for God and not for myself. I have started to read the lyrics while I am singing and not just when I am not. Worshiping with music is slowly becoming an important aspect of my spiritual life and one that is much needed.
I enjoyed these words. My wife says to me almost weekly, “Why is it that you only listen to worship music on Sundays?” I don’t have a good answer for her. I love jazz and good rock music. But it goes deeper than that…my soul longs for a transcendent connection with the Holy and I find that a particularly private and intimate process. I am getting better at letting Sunday music move me…but it is a struggle.
I can relate Joe. My wife and I have had similar conversations about music. I hope that worship leaders will recognize that not all of us are swept away by the activity and excitement of praise services and provide a few more moments of quiet and silence so that those of us who struggle with the corporate aspect can remind our heart why we are doing this.