You’ve experienced this . . .
You’re in a concert. You feel the music in your heart. But you also feel it in your body. Your foot starts tapping. Your head is moving in rhythm. Your body is swaying.
Then the performer hits a familiar chorus that touches your very depths. But it’s not just you. Now the entire audience is singing the chorus with the artist, and you join them. All of you become part of the performance, and the artist is stoked!
The experience is like magic. But it’s not. God designed us that way.
The same thing happens when the church body gathers for worship. You can’t experience this wonder on Zoom or by watching a worship service on the internet. Ya gotta be there!
Scripture reveals that the Lord “wired” our bodies to experience worship together. Even the stars sang at creation. Job 38:4-7. That’s not just poetry. But it is poetry. Kate Simmonds and Mark Edwards express the beauty and wonder of creation in their music video, “The Creation Song.” (https://youtu.be/1I7KuvV8wfE)
We see it from the Psalms of Ascent that Jewish pilgrims sang on the journey to Jerusalem for worship. (Psalms 120-134).
And we will sing a new song when the final victory over evil comes at the end of the age. Rev 5:9.
In the meantime … we worship together in song with thankfulness and joy and awe because we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. (Hebrews 12:28-29)
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. (Col 3:16-17, NLT)
You can’t get this at home.
Worshiping together allows our bodies to be rhythmically coordinated with each other and the Spirit of God uses that to comfort our fears and insecurities and overcome our biases and prejudices.
We’re better together. As David Taylor notes, this kind of singing is capable of drawing the ill-tempered, bigoted, self-absorbed, and broken members of Christ’s body into a harmonious whole that astonishes afresh both the doubter and the believer.
What a gift the Lord has given to the assembled church in worship.
Nerds, theologians, and musicians can learn more in W. David Taylor’s book, A Body of Praise: Understanding the Role of Our Physical Bodies in Worship (Baker Academic, 2023).
Everyone can learn more by coming and worshiping with us!