When it comes to worship, we live in interesting times. The church is talking more today about “worship” than it ever has in its history, but perhaps is meaning less and less by it. Very simply put, “Worship is our response to God’s revelation of Himself.” We worship him because he deserves it, we worship him because he demands it, we worship him because he delights in it! Frankly, this has precious little to do with music, let alone any given style of music. Music, just like any other art form, is just one means of expression. Music is often how we worship, but ought never to be confused with why we worship. Its trajectory must be gospel-shaped and its focus Trinitarian: Father, Son, and Spirit.
When we talk about the practical task of worshiping in an intergenerational community, it’s easy for all of this to get jumbled up. As such the Apostle Paul’s words to the Philippian believers serves as a model for how each of us as individuals are to engage in corporate worship: “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had (Phil. 2:3-5 NLT).” Ultimately, worship cannot be about the individual’s preference but rather God’s glory. 18th century Anglican Bishop Stephen Charnock wrote, that “to pretend a homage to God, and intend only the advantage of self, is rather to mock him than worship him. When we believe that we ought to be satisfied, rather than God glorified, we set God below ourselves, imagine that he should submit his own honor to our advantage; we make ourselves more glorious than God, as though we were not made for him, but he hath a being only for us.”
Music, like any art-from must concern itself with communicating essential reality through honesty and beauty. Because of the self-evident brokenness of our world, a theology of beauty only makes sense in light of our eschatology–that is, our understanding of things to come–God’s ultimate plan for his creation. For this, we rely in part upon the prophecies of Isaiah and Habakkuk when they paint for us this picture of our future reality: “…for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9b ESV), and “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14 ESV). In light of this, we understand our current world through the metaphor of a communion chalice: A thing that, though flawed, possesses immense beauty in and of itself, but whose beauty is overshadowed by the reality of what it is made for–the beauty of that with which it is to be filled. As Christian artists, our job is to celebrate the richness of the present beauty, struggle with the present pain, but do so with hope in light of the future glory which is to come. Email us HERE with any questions.
Bible in a Year
Join others in the congregation and Pastor Doug Resler for a Bible in a Year.
There are various ways you can serve in the Worship Arts Ministry and worship experiences at PEPC. Start by attending our worship services each Sunday and get a feel for PEPC and the Biblical, Relational, Intergenerational and Missional environment where we worship together.
There are many opportunities for various artistic expressions with the Worship Arts Ministry at PEPC and we would love to visit with you about your talents and gifts and how you might serve. Individual auditions or review of skills are arranged throughout the year. Please contact Matt DePriest.