Worship is a great mystery at times. There are moments when you think you have reached out and touched the heart of the Creator and other times when you fall flat at every attempt to move His heart. When things go right, you wonder what you did just as you do when things don’t go right in worship you wonder wander what you may have done wrong. I never believed there was a formula for worship but the paradox I face is, that by not having a formula, really in itself is a formula. Is the key to worship in a light acoustic performance, full heavy metal band, pop songs and lights? Is the key silent reverence or shouting with flags and a schofar? Whether you worship with an organ, full band or the triangle (which takes talent by the way), I believe worship goes much deeper than instrumentation and presentation. I have recently found that there is one way to reach the throne of heaven. If you want to call it a formula then here it is: “you – yourself (x3God + Holy Spirit) + wonder = Worship”. Let me break it down for you. There is no skill of your own making that will bring the presence of God. So remove yourself from the equation. Once you have emptied yourself, you must realize God is ever present and Jesus himself will be where two or more gather in His name. Nor then is it by our strength that we worship but by the power of God. It is the very same power the apostle Paul said, raised Christ from the dead (Eph 1:20). If you can then come to the understanding and grasp the realization that once we were dead in our transgressions and have now been made alive through Christ with the infilling of the power of the Holy Spirit; we now add the wonder. It is the awe and wonder that brings us to our desire to exalt such a God. We begin to see then, that God has provided all the tools we need to worship Him.
Last night I experienced the formula of not having a formula. A powerful worship experience came as a result of relying on the things which only God could give. I gathered together with my wife and fellow musicians; a band of misfits to lead worship at a local church. Someone once referred to us as such and I think it fits. A high school teacher, a federal marshal, an IT technician, elementary teacher, all gathered as a worship team to honor our Savior. In the natural world there is nothing that would have ever really brought us together. It is another testament to the power of the Holy Spirit. As we began we didnt think about the perfect formula to get people to respond the presence of God. We only knew that He wanted to be worshiped, He deserves our worship and all that we needed to worship Him, He had already given us.
Dont think it was all harps and light peircing the clouds because at first practice started a little rough. Some were late, some were drifting off to other places, instruments were getting in tune, sound checked, etc etc. All of that has to happen but once the people of the church gathered and the lights were lowered, the spotlight turned upwards towards heaven, and all that we went through to get to that moment we realized could not have happened without the power of the Holy Spirit in each of us. If we did anything we merely showed up to respond to the majesty of King Jesus.
Even as I type this, I know God cannot be contained in any box or formula. It was A.W. Tozer who said,
“Love and faith are at home in the mystery of the Godhead. Let reason kneel in reverence outside.”
Logic and formulas truly have no place in the worship of our Lord. It is a beautiful long distance love relationship that flows from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven; until the fulness of His Kingdom comes. It is a paradox that lead worshipers operate in. While it all seems to depend on us, none of it depends on us. Ultimately I have been encouraged that while not following a formula, I have discovered a formula of Gods making. I hope this helps to ease the pressure for some worship leaders. To know that God is God and he wants to be worshiped and that the power to do so is given freely for us who believe.
e.perry / Feb 2012