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We are not great "lovers" when it comes to our relationship with God. We western Christians are usually cerebral and ordered when it comes to how we express worship. "Passionate" is not a word that we would normally use in this regard. So, what are the factors that have been at work in our lives to shape and direct the way we experience and express worship? Maybe it's time to identify those factors.

1. Individual Upbringing.

The past is a great shaper of perception. Our view of reality is rarely (if ever) unaffected by the way we have been moulded by family emphases, peer groups, adoption of social standards etc. Without realising it, these values have been transmitted to us and have lodged in the deepest part of our being.

2. Biblical Understanding

This is most likely the product of the church tradition in which we were raised. We adopt these standard because, having been raised in that tradition, they must be right! To question those traditions can be seen as some kind of betrayal.

3. Cultural Ethos

This is to say that our Cultural Ethos exerts a powerful influence. If we live in a culture that is unashamed to show emotion, then we might reasonably expect that this will be true in every area of life - including  worship. Some cultures are very expressive emotionally while others are more the "stiff upper lip" style.

4. Personal Preference

Differences in nature, temperament and personality should be recognized and accommodated. Variety needs to be handled with care. When it comes to one's taste in music, the range of personal preferences is enormous. Any movement away from what has been the accepted tradition within that group can be quite threatening. However the goal is not to eliminate differences but to harmonize them.

In my final post on this subject I want to touch on the variety of expressions of worship and suggest a few practical guidelines as we worship together here on earth.


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