by Pastor Art
What if I told you that last Sundays message from Psalm 150 was about more than the worship of God: where to worship, why to worship, AND even how to worship him? As I noted on Sunday morning, it’s certainly about those things, but it’s also about so much more. Ready for a bit of a surprise? Though I wasn’t able to do more than loosely imply it on Sunday, I’m convinced that Psalm 150 offers us an unconventional way to measure the level and health of our hearts for mission. Here’s what I mean:
If, as I explained in the sermon, it teaches in verses 3-5 that the different instruments are also representations of different people groupings through the years (trumpet with priests; harp and lyre with Levites; strings, pipe, and symbols with the common population) then the command to bring all the instruments into the worship band is additionally a command to bring all the people in, isn’t it?
And here’s where the psalmist offers something of a missional challenge: If an unlimited (which also meant unrefined and uncultured to some ancient worshipers) inclusion of all types of instruments in worship was also an unlimited inclusion of all types of people, doesn’t it follow logically that to limit or prohibit styles (or instruments) in worship is also to limit or exclued types of people?
In other words, our openness to different worship styles might be one of the clearest measurements of our openness to different people. Stated differently, our “church music” might reveal less about our age or tastes than it does about how missional (or unmissional) our hearts really are.
Here are some other portions of Scripture that seem to contribute to this idea of finding as many ways as possible to include people in the Gospel and worship of God. In what ways do they inform your understanding of the connection between styles and mission?
- I Corinthians 9:19-27
- Mark 10:13-16
- Matthew 9:9-13
Psalm 150 does teach that, when it comes to seeking and even worshiping God, everyone should be welcome. But it may also imply (and I think it certainly does) that the opinions, styles, hang-ups, and even the good, biblical convictions we have can, if we’re not careful, send a message to lost or overlooked people that they are actually NOT WELCOME AT ALL.
As pastor Ben often says, “No Bueno.”
BE A BLESSING
OK. So, here’s a challenge that could be somewhat difficult for ALL of us - me included:
Find someone you know who has tastes so different than yours that you could hardly imagine living in his/her world. It might be a neighbor, son, daughter, grandchild, sibling, parent … ANYONE. Then ask them to give you an assignment to:
- Listen to a song they like and choose for you;
- Eat a food/ricipe they like and choose for you;
- Go out in public wearing an outfit they like and choose for you.
Then, talk, laugh, and remind them of how precious they are and how much you enjoy having them in your life.
When you’ve "survived" all that, find a quiet, private place and …
Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.