Crystal Clarity

Post a Comment » Written on December 16th, 2011     
Filed under: Uncategorized
Crystal ClearToday’s post is written by Jo Anne Taylor, Director of Music and Worship at Bethlehem Covenant Church in Minneapolis, MN.

Lord, what was it that seemed so crystal-clear this morning, as I lay in bed, listening for your voice?
I remember reading somewhere this week about how our prayer lives are too often centered on us, asking you to work your magic in our lives, while we ignore the needs out there beyond ourselves in your world. And I remember thinking that it was time to start praying for your desires instead of my own.
I may have even made it through two or three sentences before my mind wandered back to the things I knew I would need your help to accomplish today, and I started asking you to help me again.
Instead of asking how I could serve you.

But that wasn’t it. It was something else. … I remember thanking you for the Better Together group, these amazingly talented people who passionately desire to serve you as they lead worship in their congregations. I pondered the difference between our lively faith-based conversations and those that happen in the secular world, where disagreement is seen as a personal attack, instead of a quest for deeper understanding. I marveled at the humility shown by my colleagues as they share their passionately held beliefs while honoring the firm convictions of their brothers and sisters in Christ.

No, it was something else, something simple and true and beautiful, something so obvious,
I wondered why I had not seen it before. …

Of course. Authenticity. That was it. We had discussed an article that accused the Contemporary Christian Music industry of selling short – not only on the gospel, but on the music itself. The author’s implication was that secular popular music was ‘the real deal’ while CCM offered a poor imitation. The Christian message was therefore suspect, because the music itself was not “authentic.” Among the many responses to this charge, one writer reminded us that our worship music needs to have artistic, as well as theological integrity. Too often, churches make the mistake of expecting their music to serve as an evangelistic tool or a recruiting tool. This worship leader wrote:

“Worship music isn’t a tool, it’s an offering; in our art we wrap ourselves, and offer it to God, and we hope others will follow our lead.”

May your worship be authentic this week, as your church prepares to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. May others follow your lead in offering yourselves to God as you join with congregations around the world, singing “Gloria in excelsis Deo!” And may you enjoy candid, open conversations with other Christians that honor Christ by honoring one another.  “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:5)



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