Why do we worship the way we do?
Thus far, we’ve said that our worship follows the covenant renewal pattern – imitating the order of the sacrifices, it is liturgical – repeating many of the same things every week because we want to learn them and we come as children. And our worship seeks to honor our fathers in the faith, because when we lift up our hearts to the Lord, we trust that His Spirit is in fact lifting us up into the heavenly places where we join our voices to theirs.
One of the other characteristics of our worship is that it is very musical. We sing a lot of our service. This is because God loves music. In fact, the Bible says that as God’s people grow up in maturity, their worship becomes more musical. When David built the tabernacle on Mt. Zion, many of the old Levitical duties were transformed into musical duties. Hundreds of Levites became musicians and singers. We have an entire book of the Bible dedicated to this musical worship of God called the Book of Psalms, and Paul says that when the Word of God dwells in us richly, we can’t stop singing them. In fact, this is one of the ways that God intends to fill us with His Spirit. What our current instrumentalists and choirs give in terms of leading us in worship is no little thing, and what they have begun are important steps towards three overarching goals the Bible sets for us: musical literacy, Psalter mastery, and instrumental energy.
So very briefly this is what we are working towards: First, we want to be a congregation that is musically literate. Just as reading English is considered normal so that you can read your Bible, so too because God wants His people to worship Him skillfully in song, we want to be growing up to be a congregation that can read music fluently. Second, God’s favorite songs are the Psalms, and so we want them to be our favorites too. This means we want to be able to sing all 150 Psalms. Finally, we want our worship to be loud and energetic with lots of musical instruments. God loves drums and cymbals, violins and guitars, organs and trumpets, and so we want to grow up into a worship where our voices are lifted up with the glory of instruments.
So as we pray and work and plan for this glory, commit yourselves now to using whatever you have been given to praise Him with all your might. Our God is worthy of all praise, worthy of all worship. So don’t mumble these hymns, belt them out like you mean it. Sing until the Spirit lifts you up.