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Core 52 - Chapter 34 - Worship

Sometimes we tend to make even the simplest things extremely complicated.  Life shouldn’t be so hard. Getting a cup of coffee, for example.  At one time, you could walk into a diner, sit down at the counter, wave your hand to get the attention of the waitress and say, “Cup of coffee, please.”  Within 30 seconds you had a hot cup of coffee and the creamers and sugar packets were within 18 inches of your hand for you to reach and use at your discretion.  By the one-minute mark, you had your coffee customized and were guzzling it down and anticipating the glorious caffeine fix that was sure to come.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but those days are gone. I recently (two months ago) went to a well-known coffee establishment to order a cup of coffee. It took twelve minutes. No, that was not a typo; there was no dash missing from between those numbers implying a range of one to two minutes. Twelve minutes!

I walked in to the shop and was confronted by a line of three other customers in front of me. One seemed to be ordering in a foreign language, but apparently I was mistaken because at the end of their statement, they waved their phone in the air, server, or cashier, or service staff, acknowledged them with a smile and that was it. The next person seemingly stared at the menu, which was about twelve foot-long overhead of the drink prep area with countless options and choices, and proceeded to ask several questions apparently about items having nothing to do with coffee – something about vegan sausage or turkey sausage, egg whites or egg substitute and brie or gouda. They quickly finished their transaction and it was finally my turn. After waiting approximately four minutes to get to this point, I politely asked, “Can I get a cup of coffee to go, please?” That’s when the adventure begins. The following is a list of words that should never be associated with the simplicity of ordering a cup of coffee: venti, grande, latte, non-fat, soy, stevia, Americano, expresso, skinny, shot, froth, Ralph Macchio, dirty or pumpkin.

Needless to say, it took another 3 minutes to complete my order as the “barista” had to explain more than half of those terms to me, which resulted in me immediately declining them.

After waiting for three more minutes, I grabbed my cup of coffee, with its attractive cardboard sleeve, and turned to the self-service counter in search of some sugar packets and half and half.  Needless to say, there was no rhyme or reason to the order or collection of the vast quantity of items one could potentially put in their coffee, and it was quite reminiscent of an old school “battle royale” wrestling event as four of us tried to grapple with each other over sugar containers and creamer dispensers, while at the same time trying to differentiate between a straw and a stir stick. Whew!!  Finally, a cup of coffee!

It’s amazing how difficult something so simple can become. Unfortunately, sometimes we do the same when it comes to worship. The following is a list of potentially controversial words associated with worship (Note: you may agree or disagree with many of these, but it is highly likely there is an equal and opposite opinion holder in your own faith community): choral, guitar fill, Hillsong, Gaither, hymnal, repeat, loud, meditative, worship team, song leader, traditional, reckless, ebenezer, stanza, pre-chorus, bridge 3, tremolo, organ, and doxology.

I am not about to attempt to argue for or against any of those words, but I would like to make things a little bit simpler:  Instead of worship revolving around discussions and disagreements about style, volume and repetitiveness, maybe we could turn our attention to getting back to the basics. This week in our reading, Mark Moore does some in depth explanations about words in the NT referring to worship. There were many great observations, but I’ll let you read it and discover them for yourselves.  The bottom line is this - Worship is really about two things.
1) Recognizing WHO God is; and 2) Recounting WHAT God has done.
At the end of the day, that’s what it boils down to. As you end your day of service to the King of Kings, don’t ask yourself about a particular song or a particular style, but ask about your words, your actions, your attitudes, your thoughts and your actions – were they done or said or presented in a way that recognized WHO God is and WHAT God has done?

Ask yourself that question and when you answer yes, then you’ll know you are honoring Christ by worshipping “in Spirit and in truth.”

- Pete Ramsey