We find ourselves in an unusual season, which as it progresses, it presents even more new and unfamiliar challenges. The latest government guidelines state we as the church are now permitted to gather, but not permitted to sing.
Does this mean we can’t worship? What even IS worship? Is it just singing songs to God?
It’s a discussion we could expand for some time… but taking a couple of quotes from well known Biblical scholars – NT Wright and Eugene Peterson, we see that there are many things we could do which would fit this description.
Worship is humble and glad, worship forgets itself in remembering God; worship celebrates the truth as God’s truth, not its own.NT Wright
“Worship is the strategy by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves and attend to the presence of God.”Eugene Peterson
Worship in Church Gatherings
At CBC, we are working on new ideas for how to continue making space for worship in any gathered services we may have in the future. We are exploring ideas of new liturgy, ways to respond as a congregation alltogether, listening to instrumental music or a soloist, learning signing of songs and other creative ways to help us fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews12) corporately. Perhaps you have some ideas?
It’s also important to note we also intend to carry on live streaming for the time being, which will include sung worship for when we are in our homes. (More on this below.)
Worship in House Groups
CBC Housegroups and small groups have been continuing to meet for some time online, often over zoom, and some are now meeting in small distanced groups in person, too. Even in those smaller gatherings in person, sung worship in person would also be advised against, currently. It’s time for us as a church to get creative in what we could do that will help us to take a moment to fix our eyes on Jesus, and off ourselves!
In light of this, we have produced a document with ideas for worship without singing for use in housegroups, which could work both online and in person, which you can download:
Worship at Home
Though we will adhere to government guidelines to refrain from singing in groups, this is not a season to stop singing altogether. I want to encourage you, actually, I urge you to sing aloud in your homes, in your car, in the shower, outdoors, wherever you are to God!
I know that’s hard, and many of us feel our voice isn’t good enough. We are bombarded by media that celebrates and markets the exceptional; outstanding beauty, brains, the perfect singing voice. We have multiple tv shows that celebrate the power of singing; X factor, the Voice, Britain’s got Talent… I’m all too aware many of us feel we can’t compare, what’s the point of even trying? Why would I sing? Others can do it better, what’s the point of me trying? I, too am often confronted with my inadequacy as a musician and vocalist. Doubt creeps up over me, and I question myself, and question the task God has given me. I know I’m not the only one who feels their voice and talents are not good enough, many others have told me before that they struggle too.
But here’s what the Bible says about singing…
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”Colossians 3:16
Singing occurs in the Bible right through from Exodus to Revelation. It’s not just something we do if we are “talented” – it’s a command! This article is great if you fancy reading further: Seven Biblical Reasons why Singing Matters.
And in a season where we can’t all make noise together (which helps to ‘cover’ our possible imperfections!), we need to sing in the quiet of your own homes, behind closed doors. The Lord watches, sees, and the praise of the saints is like sweet smelling incense to him. Do not give up your singing.
This is a word for some of you here: YOU have a beautiful voice. It pleases the Lord. Keep going.
If it helps, we have compiled some Spotify playlists of songs we sing at CBC, and those on our playlists, which we don’t sing as a congregation yet, but are enjoying.
We hope you enjoy singing along with these at home!
With love & prayers
Robyn (Worship Pastor)