My church in Brazil was one of the first ones in our city, which is the third largest city in the country, to put a drum set in the sanctuary. What seemed to be something simple became a nightmare. We had problems with other churches and with the Presbytery (The Presbyterian Regional Governing Body). It was a sad time, and I almost was disciplined by the Presbytery.
I wrote a book about that whole ordeal, but I have not translated it into English. It is called, A Doutrina da Gravata (The Doctrine of the Tie). One of these days I will put it in English.
What is the proper way to worship? Do you have any preference? The Christian community has been invaded by loud sound, a variety of instruments, light, dance, etc., and some of the members really do not know how to respond or react to that.
Today the biggest dispute in the church is still the WORSHIP STYLE, Contemporary, Traditional, or something in the middle, what is called Blended. Churches have split over this discussion. Some people do not like one style or the other, and they fight to prove that their way of worship is the right one and the best one.
We think that this discussion is new, but it is not. This discussion has been present for a long time. That was the same discussion that the Samaritan woman raised with Jesus at the Jacob’s well in Sychar. Here is part of the story: “John 4:20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
John 4:21 Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. John 4:22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”
I understand that some of us feel uncomfortable with different kinds of service and worship, because we are not used to it. What is important for us to understand is that the form can be different but the substance must be the same in any kind of service.
It does not matter how we worship, it is the content that makes a difference. The music can be more upbeat in one than in the other. The instruments are different. But we must have the same worship in both of them.
Psalm 134 is the last Psalm of Ascents. It closes the series with worship. It could not be different. Worship is the most important thing in Christian life. It is the most sublime thing that a Christian can do.
This is why we have this psalm closing the songs of ascents. When the people arrived in Jerusalem, they would go to the Temple to worship God. The whole journey was to Worship. They faced adversities, travelled long hours, just to worship God.
This psalm will help us to understand important lessons about the true worship. And it does not have anything to do with style, instruments, day, time, etc. It has to do with our hearts.
My friend, do not forget that when you gather together with your brothers and sisters, the most important thing is to Worship God. That is the main thing. The other parts are details, and personal preferences.
Worship God, and God alone!
Have a blessed week,