I am “for” Expressive Worship. One of the greatest things about expressive worship is the emotion that often comes with it. Emotion is most certainly a way that we can worship God (see the scriptures listed in the post prior to this). We worship God with our emotions, but we do not worship God because of our emotions. That’s an important difference. We should worship God whether we feel like it or not. Sometimes in our Christian walks, we have “high spots.”
I think all Christians can relate to the high spots.
Some Christians go on a missions trip, have an amazing God-encounter, and then come home and within a few days or weeks everything is just like it was before the trip. What a waste.
The most common example is probably church camp. I recently heard one young man refer to it as a “camp high,” where you have a massive God-encounter at camp and come home and everything goes back to the way it was before. He came back from church camp excited because he did not experience a “camp high.” He said he did not want a “camp high” because there was just emotion attached to it. He is not alone. I’ve heard this attitude over and over again — people don’t want a “high spot” because it goes back to the way it was and is surrounded on emotions.
Every time I hear that I feel sick. Seriously — I just puked a little bit in my mouth. That’s stupid, folks.
The stupid thing is NOT the mountain top experience. We should strive to give God everything we have and to have mountain-top, emotion-filled experiences. Mountain-top, emotion-filled experiences are all throughout the Bible. If we read through it quickly without chewing on it, we fail to realize the emotion that occurred in some of the Bible stories. When the Ark of the Covenant came into Jerusalem, David danced naked — certainly that was a result of emotion! There are numerous examples of the disciples’ emotional responses after their encounters with Christ in the gospels. People that were healed got up and danced and shouted about how they were just healed. Kings ripped off their clothes and and covered themselves with ashes to be humble before God — certainly there was emotion there. They all worshiped with their emotions! We should seek God-encounters and embrace the emotions that may occur with it. That’s not stupid.
The stupid thing is that people let their life go back to the way it was before. What a complete waste! The examples in the Bible of people who had mountain-top experiences — those experiences changed their lives. We need mountain top experiences — its part of life. When you have a God-encounter take advantage of it. Maybe there is emotion involved . . . there probably is! Who gives a rip? It’s a God encounter! Are there seriously Christians who are so intellectual that they will avoid a God encounter if emotions are involved? That’s sad, but its true.
I realize some people are more emotional than others. The emotion “standard” is not “jump six times, raise hands for 10 minutes, and shout during the songs.” That mindset is exactly why “emotion” has a sour taste to many Christians. The emotion “standard” is that we each appropriately express what is on the inside of us. I am “for” Expressive Worship, even if it includes emotion. The line is crossed however, when the emotion becomes the worship. We worship God with our emotions.