Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Worship History and Styles – Part 4

This is the next in a series of posts on historical forms of worship, the background of Israelite worship, and modern forms of worship.

V. Differences in Worship Today

We see some of these practices today in Christian worship, which has become ever more diverse.

1 Style of Music

For example, there is diversity in style of music: contemporary praise vs. traditional hymns vs. new forms such as Taizé from France.

2. Style of Worship

There is diversity in style and atmosphere of the service: formal vs. casual; carefully planned vs. spontaneous; traditional hymns vs. contemporary praise music.

3. Congregational Response

There is diversity in the congregational response to worship: emotional outpourings vs. more reserved.

4. Congregational Participation

There is diversity in how participative and expressive the congregation is in worship, such as clapping, raising hands, shouting “Amen”, waving.

5. How Worship Conducted

There is diversity in the nature of the service: solemn ritual such as a mass, or quiet and meditative such as a Quaker gathering.

6. Emphasis of the Service

There is diversity in the emphasis of the service: sacramental vs. proclamation of the Word.

7. Offerings of Talents

Finally, we see worship done in various ways through the offerings of talents: a solo, a choir, sacred dance, playing an instrument, a skit, etc.

VI. Conclusion

I’ve discussed these to help put worship in its historical context, especially since Christians believe Israelite worship points to Christ and his sacrificial death on the cross. I’ve also wanted to show that there are different forms of worship, many of which have their roots in the Bible.

God has placed in our hearts the knowledge of himself, our need for atonement, and the fact that God deserves our worship. Through Scripture and the Person of Jesus Christ, we now know God much better. We Christians also know that we don’t have to atone for our sins through sacrifices, because Jesus did it all for us. Therefore, we worship God because he is worthy, and in thanksgiving for all he has done for us. So let us look to worship as a privilege, a pleasure, and a purpose for our lives.

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