Worship as Story

Every Sunday I stand on a stage in front of 200 to 300 people. A congregation of people that have come to worship God, hear from God, be encouraged, strengthened or fed, some literally need food.

Over the years I have thought hard about what it means to "lead worship". I am not the lead singer, I am a back up singer, so I'm sure my thought process is different then that of the main leader. But I still do wonder if we just over think all this or go the other extreme and try to over feel it.

I don't think I'm up there to lead people into worship as much as I am up there to sing for Him and too Him and to tell His story of love, redemption, grace and victory through song. If I worship from that place, others who are wanting to, will also worship. I think. I also believe that if we tell the story, bring them into the story somehow, they will want this Hope that IS His story.

Maybe we over think it and not feel it enough. OR we rely on the feelings and try to work up something fabricated instead of just walking in the obedience of bringing a sacrifice of praise to Him. To quote Nike, sometimes we have to "Just do it" the obedience of praising and worshiping Him makes him happy..I think and sometimes we get to feel the story spreading through the congregation, The comforter reaching into all our hearts.

The BRDC worship is a very different congregation then the other HPC campuses because we are completely diverse with actually more African Americans then Caucasians. So, we don't do much Hillsong or Jesus Culture, we do more Jonathan Stockstill, Israel Houghton, stuff like that. Last night I was looking for new songs for the team to do and I found "I Believe". It's an old gospel song remade by Jonny Lang and The Fisk Jubilee singers. It was written when Black America was segregated, oppressed, enslaved and abused.

You can hear the faith, the hope, the longing for a better life in this song. The lyrics, the passion, the intensity.

Singing about a Mansion in Heaven is so not Church-PC now, prosperity gospel destroyed that talk but for a share cropper, for a beat down and oppressed people, in a day when there seemed to be no end insight to the evil of racism, these songs were hopes and dreams for a day when they met Jesus and the hard life here was ended.

It's a great story. It's a true story even today for many in this world."..he broke my fall and my chains, and all the guilt is gone away..by faith I can have it, by faith I can share it, by faith I will know it, by faith I can show it.."

Can worship in church sometime be about telling stories like these? Do these songs encourage people to believe. Does the story move them to hope in more then what they see around them?

I love what this blogger wrote about this song,

..Jonny Lang’s pleasantly sweaty “I Believe” is a particular highlight, merging Chris Whitley-ish guitars and footstomps with the big, shouting presence of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. It’s rough and timeless in all the right ways, invoking the “guitar evangelists” of the pre-World War II era, leaping off of crackly 78s into the modern age. It takes a neo-traditionalist like Lang ..to make a robust hybrid of the pop and Gospel forms, by hearkening back to the common roots of both musics — to the blues on the cusp of fragmenting into a dozen different subgenres, and its idiosyncratic, abandoned cries of joy and yearning, raw but disciplined — instead of trying to mesh the fully-evolved, fully-divergent present-day forms.

You can listen to the song HERE.


Anonymous said…
Great Song. It took me back to the country church in Selma, Alabama.
Shiloh Baptist. That is the gospel songs we sang back then. Most were Negro gospels. You could get down in the baptist church then. Now, not so much.
Anonymous said…
You people must lighten up! Negro is not an offensive word. Nigger is in the wrong context. if you are calling someone a nigger as an insult, that is offensive. We black people(the politically correct)call each other nigger as an endearment. It depends on who is saying it and how. Negro Spiritual is the correct name for these gospel songs.

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