Friday, March 20, 2009

Indescribable Worship

Those of you who know me know that I have strong feelings about biblical worship. Elsewhere I’ve described biblical worship as …a ‘wake-up call,’ a window onto another world called the Kingdom of God; a time each week to remember both who and Whose we are so as to ‘get our story straight.' And those who know me know also that I have been distressed by the current supplanting of biblical worship with an entertainment model that treats every Sunday as a pep rally and every sermon as a little “pep talk” to pump up the faithful…by the cheapening of biblical worship through the slick, market-oriented, consumer-savvy, shallow salesmanship that dominates so much of the liturgical landscape these days. I sometimes refer to this as “adjectival worship.” You know what I mean – the irrepressible need some churches have to locate their worship in the liturgical marketplace so that the “customers” know what’s for sale on Sundays – contemporary worship, praise and worship, blended worship, purpose driven worship, creative worship, etc. I thought I’d seen it all. And then, today as Cheryl and I were driving home from a visit to an area botanical garden, we ran across a new form of adjectival worship that…well, defies description.

The sign out front of the church said it all (pun intended). “Indescribable Worship” it screamed at passers-by. I couldn’t help it; I had to stop. You see, I've experienced "insubstantial worship;" and I've experienced "incomprehensible worship;" and I've even experienced "interminable worship" on occasion; but never in all my years of church going have I experienced "indescribable worship." So I had to ask. Found the pastor and said: "What, pray tell, is 'indescribable worship?'" He, of course, was speechless. And so I set my imagination to work. Maybe it was a Quaker style worship service where everybody sits in silence. Or perhaps the congregation sings hymns without lyrics. Or maybe the preacher pantomimes the sermon. They were right about one thing: whatever it was, it wasn't easily described.

So, I did some research on “indescribable worship” in order to identify the qualities or characteristics that must be present in order for a service to be appropriately labeled “indescribable worship.” I came up with four:


Any questions?

Well, the sign worked. I was intrigued. For a minute there, I actually thought about dropping by on Sunday to check it out. I mean, no one wants to get left behind when the “next big thing” in worship comes along! Thought I might report back to you on the blog what I found out about “indescribable worship.” But then I realized, what’s the use? It’s…well…indescribable.

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