Monday, July 29, 2013

The Heart of Worship

I met my wife Theresa in 1999. We were both new to Nashville, working in the music industry, and were introduced by some mutual friends. I was a guitarist who wanted to sing better and she was a singer who wanted to improve her guitar playing. You could say I used those circumstances to my advantage and to spend as much time as possible with her. 
I had come to Nashville for a new beginning after a particularly difficult time in my life. I was raw and holding on to God tightly. And the best way I knew to do that was through music. I spent a lot of time in my apartment with just my guitar, my voice, and worship songs. Theresa joined me there and we spent many hours together singing, playing and writing songs that were for no purpose other than to offer to God.
Around that same time, UK worship leader Matt Redman wrote one of his most well-known songs, “The Heart Of Worship,” the lyric of which says:
"When the music fades, all is stripped away, and I simply come / Longing just to bring something that’s of worth that will bless your heart… / I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about You, Jesus."
There’s a powerful story behind that song. The pastor of Matt’s church, Soul Survivor in Watford, England, felt that their church community had gotten too much into the “extras” of worship - a great band, a big, loud sound system, and the concert feel that went with it. He felt God prompting him to do a very brave thing and told Matt that, until further notice, there would be no band, no sound system, no instruments. The church would get together and just sing without any accompaniment. He asked the church the question, “When you come through the doors on a Sunday, what are you bringing as your offering to God?” Matt wrote “The Heart Of Worship” alone in his bedroom as a way to capture their experience. That song, and the accompanying question, resonated with Theresa and me as we committed our lives and music to God. And, ever since, we’ve connected with God most deeply not on a stage with lots of other musicians but through a guitar or two, in our living room, singing whatever comes to mind.
While I don’t think we at BUMC have become distracted by all the extra “stuff” that goes into our Sunday services, you’ll soon be hearing details about a new Sunday evening worship service that will aim to strip us to the core of what it means to worship simply. Just some acoustic music, great songs of faith, and our voices and lives. What will you bring?
Originally posted on the BUMC Blog on Jan. 9, 2013.

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