I am a lover of all types of worship. Different types of worship work for different types of people. To exclude any one style cheats you from the beauty that comes from diversity in approaching the throne of God. Maybe like me, you have spent some time in every genre and find some a little more comfortable than others. Maybe like me you can find beauty in all of them.
Contemporary worship, where everyone wears jeans and sports tats, is the new norm. I love this relaxed ,very open and unpretentious style of worship. I love that many songs are sung straight from Scripture and if you want to sway, close your eyes and raise your hands it’s all good.
High church, complete with organs and Cancel choirs, brings with it a formality. I love this style of worship in its place. Nothing can bring a sense of awe like the sounds of beautiful blending of symphony and the “knock you to the ground” perfection of voices that sing “The Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah. It is as if you are transported to the throne and a sense of holy awe fills you. High church reminds me that I am very small and He is very big. In a world of “Jesus is my boyfriend” music sometimes we need to be in awe and realize the vast bigness of Him, our Creator. High Church does that for me.
Southern gospel is where my roots are. I was raised on 4-part harmony and white hankies waving in the air. Shouts of “Hallelujah” and “Yes Lord” were shouted sometimes louder than the singers and sweet white-haired women raised wrinkled hands and whispered, “Praise You Jesus.” If you are a lover of tight harmony and songs that allow for girls with big hair and lots of makeup, men with “sports jackets” and gospel sings where everyone knows the words and someone ends of crying, you love southern gospel. There are songs that I hear from time to time that transport me right back to my childhood and I am a little girl, singing on the stage with her sister and dad while her other sister beat out the tune on an upright piano. Good memories. Maybe I thought I outgrew this style of worship but it never outgrew me. I love it when The Mister plays 99.1 FM radio “Southern Gospel Sunday” on the way to church and I still belt out the alto to “He Washed My Eyes with Tears” while we drive to worship.
If you can appreciate all kinds of worship, you will understand why tears filled my eyes and spilled down my cheeks this morning in worship. As we stood with heads bowed, each of us talking in our own way to God, a soft gentle song played in the background. If you were not listening for it, you would have missed the ageless beauty of “Amazing Grace”. There were no drums or bass guitars. No pipe organ with robed choirs. No one clapped their hands or grabbed their microphone to sing along. It was simple and beautiful. In my mind I sang these words….”When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun. We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.”
And I felt God whispering to me…. “I love it all. When praise reaches My ears, I love it all.” I know that one day, we will all ” love it all” when tens of thousands of us stand on heaven’s soil and just praise. No labels, no titles, no divisions. Just praising Him. He is worthy of our praise. So praise Him in your exclusive style or enjoy all of it at different times and in different ways, just like He does.