When I Survey
If you are part of the BBC family you will be aware that last week we issued a survey (bet you weren’t expecting that) to gauge how people are feeling about returning to corporate, gathered worship under current restrictions. The responses are starting to come in and a very common theme is that while everyone who has replied so far has said how good it is to be connecting as church in the way we are via Facebook etc, we are all missing not just being together but worshipping in song together. And let’s be honest, we do love our sung worship at Biggleswade Baptist!
But it is hard to sing along when you’re at home, especially if you have family members who don’t. So here’s a thought (and I need to credit Mike Pilavachi from Soul Survivor for this, and Ali for posting it) – what if God is calling us to explore different ways of worshipping Him? What if this time of restriction is a God-given opportunity to explore different ways and maybe go deeper into our relationship with Him as a result?
There is a song we all love that came out of the soul Survivor Network a few years ago now – Matt Redman’s “When the Music Fades” – it always makes me smile when churches sing this with a full band – it came out of a time when their church was challenged to not sing. The words are incredibly powerful:
“When the music fades, all is stripped away, and I simply come. Longing just to bring something that’s of worth, that will bless Your heart. I’ll bring You more than a song, for a song in itself is not what you have required. you search much deeper within through the way things appear; You’re looking into my heart. I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about You, all about You Jesus; I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it, when it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I love singing in worship with a large group of people. But are there times when the worship becomes more about me, more about us, than about Jesus? “Worship wasn’t very good today, we only sang three songs…we didn’t sing my favourite…we repeated that chorus too many times/not enough times…there were not enough hymns…the band were too loud…the band were too quiet (if that happens after the same service you’ve actually got it about right!)…there were too many slow songs…too many fast songs.” If we find ourselves saying these things, and others like them, we need to have a look at our own attitude.
Let’s not forget singing is simply one part of worship. When was the last time we stood, sat or knelt in awe as we contemplated the love of God for us in Christ Jesus? Have we ever lain face down, prostrate before the mercy of our God and Father? Danced for joy at His great love?
Perhaps the Government not allowing us to sing is doing us a favour, making us think about the true nature of worship and how we approach God. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all. Worship is about us expressing our love for Jesus, recognising His greatness and our smallness. And when it comes from the heart, whether its sung or not, that is the worship that He deserves, enjoys and accepts.
And just for balance, let’s finish with the words from a great hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” (now that’s the survey you were expecting from the start isn’t it?):
“When I survey the wondrous Cross, on which the Prince of Glory died; my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride…were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”
May we take the time to be quiet before God; to hear Him speak, and worship Him with all that we have.
God bless, stay well