After spending the weekend with Youth Forum as their chaplain last weekend, I’ve been reflecting a lot about worship.
Worship has evolved over the eons. Passive, active, interactive, contemplative, silent, musical, it’s an ever evolving movement for the body of Christ. Our most popular in Western culture is passive worship. The music happens at the front. The message and prayers all come from the front. We all sit in our pews and face forward, standing occasionally… if we have to.
I spent 4 days experiencing something different. I experienced worship that moved. I experienced worship where the only place to sit was on the floor, and that was only when something had to be said. I experienced worship where the youth (and the adults among them) sang with all their hearts and voices, dancing, conga-lining, jumping, doing actions… and it was joyful!
I find it interesting that when the youth head to the floor of the conference meetings on Saturday night, almost no one dares miss it. When the youth begin to line-up people parking their cars run to get their seats before the youth enter into the arena.
Why is this?
Let me describe what happens.
The band (the amazing “The Message“) begins playing and all the youth run in dancing and weaving through the tables making our way to the front where we continue singing, dancing, jumping and waving. Most of the room is with us trying to keep up. (Confession: I was completely winded by the time the first song was over)
We do skits, we sing some more, we read scripture, some reflection on what we have been doing over the weekend and we sing our way out just as we came in!
It’s a high energy service that gets the blood flowing in youth and seniors alike.
But there was also the communion service right after when we returned to our common space.
The lights were low. Tea lights everywhere (battery powered for safety, don’t worry Mt. A staff). Youth were sitting in circles with their small groups, singing, praying and sharing in stories as the liturgy moved around them. Musicians, vocalists, prayers, scripture, all moving around the room, enveloping them as they sat together. They passed the bread and juice among themselves, serving each other.
Worship that moves the body and the spirit is what I experienced fully last weekend with 100 other people, and at times with 500 people.
Yet when we come home to our churches with the seats bolted to the floor with just enough room to walk in and sit down, I wonder what we might be missing. I wonder how we can bring such interactive worship back into our churches where we learn and grow together as one family.
Just some thoughts I’m dealing with this week.
What are your thoughts about worship?