I like worship to be real.
For the most part, for me, worship is REAL JOYFUL. I have fun in worship. I really do love gathering with sisters and brothers in Christ to lift up praises and prayers to God. I love starting things off with praise music. I love breaking bread with each other. I am often smiling during Holy Communion because, well, it brings me joy. And, I’ve told the congregations I serve that I want them to enjoy–really enjoy–being in worship, too.
I also like worship to intersect with REAL LIFE. We’re in the midst of a Beatitudes Sermon Series (Matthew 5:1-12) and I enjoy pointing out this alternative reality that Jesus is putting out here…that the dynamics of God’s kingdom is what the REAL WORLD is all about. In the REAL WORLD, according to our God, it is the meek who inherit the earth, it is the poor in spirit who are blessed, etc. And all of this flies in the face of what we often take for granted as real, the way things are, in the world. The Scriptures, including the whole Sermon on the Mount, describe for us what the real world around us is like.
And in the mist of this REAL WORSHIP we’ll have REAL LEARNING, we’ll have REAL COMMUNION with God and with each other, and we’ll leave worship with a faith that is able to live a REAL LIFE in the REAL WORLD of flesh and bones and jobs and traffic and travel and burdens and broken families and simple pleasures. This is INCARNATIONAL. It’s a faith that takes on flesh and is lived out in the world.
One thing that comes from having REAL WORSHIP is that we’ll enter into REAL PAIN as well.