Thursday, August 11, 2005

Corporate Worship

I had a really good conversation with my husband last night about corporate worship. Well, really we were talking about the problem of an individualistic mindset within Christianity, but it lead to a discussion about worship, and I'd really appreciate feedback on this.

A lot of times in services I can remember being told to "close my eyes, block out everyone else and just meet with God" during a worship service. I'm starting to think that is entirely the wrong way to approach corporate worship. To meet with God is good, but to ignore the presence of everyone around me in order to do it just doesn't feel right. What is the point of gathering together if we are all going to build mental rooms to block everyone else out.

corporate worship should involve everyone. We should be aware of those around us and aware of their connection with God. There are times when I *gasp* open my eyes and look around during worship and watch other people. To see someone encountering God is amazing. To watch the changes in their expression, in their posture, just a light flowing through them causes me to worship God. To see another person not so connected, perhaps upset or distracted leads me to pray for them, to ask God to give them comfort and draw them to Him.

When we worship together I think it should be together, a shared experience, not a collection of individual experiences. Our mindset needs to change so that we are open with our connection to God, not hiding it. There still needs to be a servant heart, not doing things that would intentionally distract people, but freedom to share the experience.


Richards' said...

Hey Steph, I'm on your side. You may remember at Bethany, I hardly ever closed my eyes in the chapel. I was never told in church to close my eyes... It does not make you grow any closer to God, it just makes it darker. I cringe at work, when I hear another teacher tell the kids to bow their heads, and close their eyes! It's not going to make them listen any closer to the teacher praying. If they don't want to listen, they wont. Anyway, that is how I feel.

glo said...

steph, i think you and ben are on the right track. when i learned you could pray with your eyes open it was a life changing, since then i useally only close my eyes when i sing, but not very often, (at least i don't think)

Denise Bickford said...

Hellos, yes, I am on your side as well. Closing your eyes all the time just never seemed natural to me. Not for praying (always), and not for worship. It really is amazing to see others in worship, and sometimes for me just watching the children at Church speaks to me! When God wants to speak to us, I dont think He waits until our eys are closed, He will do so when He feels we will listen!
And your right Gwyn, kids will listen if they want or dont want to!