What is real worship? Is this generation of Praise & Worship genre driven industry, we tend to shun anything that doesn't remind us of Sunday morning. I remember feeling strange when I joined a huge gospel choir and I didn't know anything about James Cleveland or the Thompson Community Singers. But I knew Commissioned, Yolanda Adams, BeBe and CeCe and Donnie McClurkin. I knew that I loved God and some of the most intimate moments I'd had with Him up until that point happened right in my bedroom with the door closed and stereo blasting all these on random. I learned more scripture from Fred Hammond than I ever did in church. My mom used to take us on road trips bumping The Winans. "The Question Is" taught me about God's love and "Everything You Touch is a Song" made me acknowledge His greatness and the beauty of the world He had created around me.
I won't be naive and pretend that there is not a directive that is specific to Praise & Worship. The lyrics are aimed specifically to Christ and His sacrifice for us, the greatness and power of His name, the glory of His presence. Acknowledging these attributes in song is a powerful way to express our relationship with an all-powerful God.
When we use that same avenue to acknowledge our hurts and life experiences, there is often a rebuke, a silencing of sorts, implying that the attention and focus is no longer on Christ, but only on the sadness of this life. In reality, it's the exact opposite. Gospel music will highlight a situation or problem to magnify the power of Jesus and share "The Good News." After all, that is the very definition of the word "Gospel." What worries me is the refusal of some to even acknowledge the power of God in these songs. It's tough to relate to an expression of deep relationship when you haven't quite fostered one. But when you remember what it was like to almost lose your mind and God literally saved your entire life, you can identify with the songwriter and be influenced to dig deeper and seek Him further.
We can't discount the experiences of others, and we can't assume that our own relationship with God supersedes another's. Our particular brand or preference for worship is not exclusive or perfect. It is ours, and God hears you when you cry out listening to Hillsong, and He hears me when I cry out listening to LeCrae. What matters is that we cry out with a pure heart. Whatever convicts you, whatever moves you, don't be ashamed to let the world know that you serve a God who not only
is, but who also can.
"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” - John 4:23-24