ODJ: face the music

March 14, 2015 

READ: 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 

So, my dear brothers and sisters, when you gather for the Lord’s Supper, wait for each other (v.33).

The wise pastor told his new worship director, “There’s one style of music I hope you never play in our church.” She grabbed a pen and asked, “What is it?” He replied, “I’ll never tell you. If we all insist on getting our own way, we’ll never sing anything.”

Few issues are more controversial in church than music. Some churches solve the problem by providing two worship options, a traditional service for those who prefer the hymns and a contemporary one for those who enjoy newer music.

Marva Dawn warns, “It is utterly dangerous for churches to offer choices of worship styles.” She explains that it divides the church, treats Christians as consumers and robs us of the opportunity to serve our neighbour. We should rejoice when a tune is sung that we don’t like, for that’s an opportunity to deny ourselves for the sake of our brother or sister (Matthew 16:24). When hymn-lovers try to learn a new praise chorus or if contemporary music fans sing an old hymn, both are saying to the other, “This may not be my cup of tea, but I’m willing to make room for you. I’ll sing along for your sake, and the whole church will benefit.” Jesus commanded us to love our neighbour as ourselves. If we’re unwilling to do this during worship, when would we ever do it? (Mark 12:29-31).

God knows there will be variety in our worship services. We have all been created with different tastes, and He says that Spirit-filled believers will sing “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs . . . making music to the Lord in your hearts” (Ephesians 5:19). Our great God deserves to be praised by the widest variety of worshippers and styles. Keep your preference, but keep it to yourself. Mike Wittmer

365-day plan: Judges 16:22-31

Read Psalm 150:1-6 and see the variety of ways we can worship God. 
What’s your favourite worship song? What is your least favourite? How can you humbly submit to those whose music tastes are different from yours?