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Does your church have a "worship issue" that it is seeking to resolve? Are people polarizing around different styles and expressions of music worship? Are the generations in conflict about what constitutes acceptable worship? For what it's worth, here are a few observations that may or may not help.

The Bible gives us no one, unchangeable pattern or form of worship

a.  Worship can be silent/quiet

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Ps 46:10 NIV  [Be still = Be silent, be quiet]

But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him." (Hab 2:20  NIV)

b. Worship can be expressive and noisy

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre,  praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.  Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.  (Ps 150:3-6 NIV)

c.  Worship can be majestic

In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Hovering around him were mighty seraphim, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with the remaining two they flew. In a great chorus they sang, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty! The whole earth is filled with his glory!"  The glorious singing shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire sanctuary was filled with smoke. (Isa 6:1-4 NLT)

d. Worship can be celebratory

So much teaching in the Bible about worship has a strong emphasis on celebration. We are celebrating the person of the Lord God Almighty. Many of the psalms in particular have a strong sense of rejoicing in the Lord and magnifying His Name.

As we consider the variety of worship expressions, it becomes clear that no one expression of worship suits every occasion. The challenge is how to sensitively maintain a balance as we seek to be responsive to the Holy Spirit and to the needs of people.

Finally, let me offer these observations.

1. A mature loving attitude will extend freedom to others to express their worship as is fitting with who they are.

2. Equally, those to whom this freedom is extended will not misuse it but will exercise it with an equal degree of loving responsibility.

3. The key to freedom is for us to experience a growing God-consciousness without losing our awareness and care of others around us.

4. Whether we sing hymns or praise songs, they need to be Biblically sound and accurate.

5. The language and terminology needs to relevant and understandable.

6. The question is not as to whether the song/hymn is old or new. The question is "Is it life-giving?" Does it provide me with an effective means of responding to the Lord as He reveals Himself to me.

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