Reverence and Celebration

In the midst of past worship wars these two terms have been opposing sides and have been tossed around as ammunition. Those churches who prefer quiet worship complain there is no sense of awe or reverence in the energetic churches that take a more lively approach.

The charismatic leaning churches shout back to the quiet churches "where is the celebration and the emotion in your worship."

These two schools of thought do not have to be separated. They can survive and I suggest thrive together.

If we believe that Christ-centered worship is the reflection of a relationship with a living God then it should have moments of awe and celebration.

I grew up in a worship style that leaned heavily on an emotional celebration in worship. There was freedom in those worship services to express your love to God with abandon.

It wasn't until I went to graduate school that I attended a worship service where there was emphasis on 'awe' in worship. That was displayed in a couple of ways, 'silence' 'more reading of scripture,' 'a Capella singing' and even the majestic sound of a pipe organ. I enjoyed learning of this new style of worship, however, the majority of people in the services seem to going through the motions and emotion was never displayed. There seemed to be a deeper interest in creating a great aesthetic sound rather than enjoying a great God.

Today when we plan worship services we feel that there needs to be intentional elements that encourage us to stand 'awestruck' as we recognize the amazing God we worship and what He has done through the gift of His son. We also feel that we need to give opportunity for celebration because of the very same thoughts.

I love my family, my wife and my two children. There are times I enjoy their presence and their actions by standing near and observing, watching them grow and interact. There are other times when we enjoy each other's presence by laughing, singing and even crying together.

I love my God and there are times I need to think about Him in silence, learn of Him through the quiet reading of His word. There are other times when the realization of all He is and all He has done demand a celebration. All of that is worship.

This weekend when I gather with my church family I will not be surprised if there are moments of silence when I stand in awe at the majesty of God. I also will not be surprised when we sing loudly, clap or even shout praises to Almighty God.

Reverence and celebration are human expressions therefore they are acceptable in worship.

Are you comfortable expressing both 'reverence and celebration' in worship?

Do you feel in your church one is emphasized more than the other and is that healthy?