Wednesday, January 25, 2006
A Hungry Worshipper Part 3
To conclude this little study, let's consider how to get from here to there.
This aesthetic leaves a great deal of freedom. But it is largely subjective to the musically untrained. We as a people first need to be trained in worship, by being led and educated by those who have musical training and have studied worship specifically. When a bank wants to train its tellers to recognize counterfeits, they begin by having the tellers handle lots and lots of real cash. Then when the counterfeit passes, the trained hand feels the difference even if it cannot tell precisely which forging techniques were used. This is the same idea. Let people practice lots of thoughtfully and Biblically constructed worship under the direction of ministers who have wrestled with this, not in light of what pleases men, but in light of what pleases God. Then we will recognize the real thing and resist the counterfeit.
The goal is to have a NATION of priests, everyone understanding what is good and beautiful and acceptable in God’s sight, not to perpetuate a hierarchy of snobs.
1. Training in what to sing, how to worship
a. Learn God’s forms by singing Psalms and other songs recorded in Scripture. Not because nothing else is acceptable, but so that we can learn what delights God, and look for other things that have the same life, and even make them ourselves.
b. Study worship as a congregation, especially concentrating on the forms God established and embellished through history, including the glimpse of heavenly worship in Revelation.
2. Training in music itself.
a. Congregations need an accomplished, trained leader. (I Chron 15,16) Note the Davidic requirements for musicians serving the Lord.
1. Musicians were Levites (15: 16-24), i.e. paid members of the priestly tribe. In Nehemiah’s day, not paying the Temple musicians was a serious enough offense that the administrator who withheld their pay was deposed and publicly humiliated (Neh 13:4-13).
2. Chenaniah, the leader was skilled enough to be a teacher (15: 22).
3. They were full-time. (16:6, 37)
4. They were mature adults (I Chron, 23:3), numbered for service assignments from age 30.
5. They were purified and set apart for their work as any other Levite. (Num 8:5-14) And so must any of us purify our hearts if we expect to offer acceptable praise to the Lord.
c. Leader should be able to train others and to screen worship music. Apparently, even David submitted his poetry to the appointed Levite in charge of music before it was used in worship (see Ps headings).
I look forward to the day when Christians will join together gladly in glorious worship that is both pleasing to God and nourishing to men.