What ham dinners taought me about worship.
So lately I have been contemplating different aspects of worship. Trying to think outside of my own worship box and the way I have done things in the past. Why? Because someone told me a story, that’s why. Let me recount that story to you.
“So I noticed my mom always cut the ends off of our ham when she would cook it. I found that weird and a little wasteful. I decided to ask her why she did it. Her response? ‘That’s how your grandma did it. So I went to grandma and asked her. She simply said, “That’s how my mother did it.” Eventually I got to see my great grandmother and I asked her this seemingly unanswerable question. When I asked her she said, “Because my pan was too small I had to cut it to fit my pan.”
Basically in his family they did the same thing for generations because one generation didn’t have a big enough pan to handle their meat. By the time the generations got down to my friend they had a big enough pan. They could easily have cooked the whole thing but tradition kept them from using the fullness.
I wonder if I am throwing aside great things because of traditions I was passed down that really hold no value. In my worship, why am I doing the things I am doing?
I know that some things I do are because of the needs and culture of my church. I know that some are because I have a desire to honor God more fully. There are certain habits that I have learned to break. One for instance, is the need to talk in-between each song. For years all the worship leaders at the churches I went to did this. They would share a prayer or a scripture in-between and so naturally I started doing it. That’s just how worship is done. But then I started noticing that in every live worship CD they do not do this. They just move from one song to the next.
I realized that in my church growing up, this was done to cover the gap while they changed songs, they did not have a natural flow of songs so they needed to make adjustments in that time between one and the next. It worked for them because it was what they had to do. However when I was a child, the ‘modern’ praise and worship movement was still new and they were still learning how to do things that we take for granted today.
When I stopped doing this, and started linking my songs together and making soft and smooth transitions, I noticed that the congregation entered into worship more. I realized that the talking was a distraction that kept them from pushing all the way into the presence.
This is just one example of a tradition that needed to go to better facilitate the works of the Lord. Over the next few weeks and months I am really searching myself to find all the traditions of man that I have adopted that are not right, not fruitful, and not helping with my worship. There are some traditions that are right and serve good purpose, but for those that aren’t I am going to seek to purge them from my habits and develop new habits that push the worship forward more.
What about you. Have you ever found habits in yourself that actually were hindering your worship? Has the Lord ever shown you things you do that stop the flow of his presence? Please share any that you have because what God has spoken to you might also be something he needs to speak to me.