Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Sacrifice of Praise

This post was sparked from a Book of Common Prayer side article, shown on August 17th.

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name." -Hebrews 13:15

This may come as a surprise to some, but I'm opinionated. As I've been researching the church year and actively examining what I believe and why I believe it, I sometimes end up at odds with traditions. I was taught by my campus minister to make sure that the songs I sing a) are Biblically sound and b) are true for me. (i.e. I can't sing "Wherever He Leads, I'll Go" unless I have a passport and am willing to leave the country).

I started judging the songs and not singing the ones that didn't fit the criteria listed above. I became a sort of song-elitist.

But then I came across a reading in the Book of Common Prayer talking about offering a "sacrifice of praise." The reading pointed out that the body of Christ has a lot of diversity. Worship is offered to God around the world, in many languages and many styles. When I insisted on a particular song style or tradition, I am making worship about me, not about worshiping God. I was challenged to praise God instead of snubbing songs, because if a song isn't my particular cup of tea, it probably is meaningful to someone else and that is leading them to worship God more fully.

One benefit of liturgy is that it attempts to keep the focus on God, instead of my personal preferences. By having set readings, I can focus on praising God, instead of evaluating which word choice I prefer. Now if there's a song that seems to contradict scripture, don't sing it if you don't want to, but instead of pouting or glowering, pray to God and thank Him for anything you can think of.

Worship is bigger than me. It's bigger than my preferences. It's about God. Is that where my focus is, or am I focused on my likes and dislikes?

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