Worship And The Glory Of God -- By: Ron Man
RAR 9:2 (Spring 2000) p. 79
Worship And The Glory Of God
When I was in college studying music, I worked for a while in the choral department of a large music store. The manager of the department was as secular and ungodly a man as they come, yet he was an expert on sacred choral music. I didn’t think much about it at the time, because I wasn’t a Christian then. But on thinking back on it years later, I realized how sad that was.
I have seen others as well for whom sacred music was merely an area of specialization, a field of expertise in which their interest was merely academic or aesthetic—talk about missing the forest for the trees! If I may reverently paraphrase the apostle Paul: “If we have focused on sacred music in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied!”
Two years ago I attended an excellent one-day seminar on choral vocal technique sponsored by a well-known music school. It quickly became apparent, however, that perhaps the overriding value of that teacher and that institution was the production of beautiful, pure vowel sounds—that regardless of whether the literature was secular or sacred, the ultimate goal was to achieve vowels of true excellence. And I thought, how tragic—this is really what they live and work for! They groom the trees so carefully and never step back and see the forest in all its grandeur.
But, before we get too smug, let us admit that it is all too easy for Christians to get caught up in the details and
RAR 9:2 (Spring 2000) p. 80
logistics of what happens in our church services and forget about what should be the true focus of our endeavor—not in the absolute sense that those I have mentioned above have done, but nevertheless it can be a very real problem for us.
Let us reflect on the immensity and grandeur of worship, and consider the centrality of worship to all of life and to all that we are and do as Christians.
John Piper On Worship
A turning point in my understanding of worship came when the missions pastor of our church showed me the introductory sentences of a book on missions, titled Let the Nations Be Glad, by Dr. John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. This was simply not your usual introduction to a book on missions. It emphasized the secondary importance of missions, it claiming that it is the second most important activity of the church. That’s not how one would normally seek to convince one’s readers of the importance of the subject at hand: talking about how it is of secondary importance!
This is what Piper wrote—three sentences which have revolutionary implications for how we understand worship: “Missions is not th...
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