I recently had a retreat meeting with my fabulous friend Ruth who is my second-in-command for our November retreat. We went through the running order of the retreat and worked on areas we thought we could improve upon now that we know who will be attending. One of the topics that we focussed on was worship.
We both believe that worship is an integral part of the Christian faith. If we are not worshipping God, then what are we doing? But there are many visions of what ‘worship’ entails and it’s worth having a think about how we want to go about worshipping and what our attendees’ expectations may be.
There are many different ways that we can worship and they are not reduced to just singing along to a praise band or the organ at church. Worship can encompass so many different things. Even Bible study can be an act of worship. Prayer itself can be an act of worship.
For a couple of months now I have been thinking and praying about what it means to worship and to rejoice in the Lord always, and why sometimes the repetition of a well-known song may not the offering God wants us to bring. There is a song called “The heart of worship” that I always remember because as a teenager a friend had it as her MSN handle and it contains the line “I’ll bring you more than a song/for a song in itself is not what you have required”.
It’s hard to ignore that singing is an integral part of the Christian faith. The book of Psalms is all songs and a lot of people associate worship with music and singing. We know the power songs can have, but we also want our worship experience to be more open and more personal than simply singing the a few well-known songs together.
We feel that it’s important to have a designated ‘time of worship’ during our retreats. As such, we are planning to have a designated ‘worship’ time before the Bible study sessions on the Saturday and Sunday mornings. We’ve taken our inspiration for these from our September virtual retreat, where for a worship time I provided a YouTube playlist of songs that were relevant to the Bible study. This time I will make two playlists and print out the lyrics for those that wish to sing along to the tracks. We’ll space out these songs with pauses for prayer and perhaps the sharing of Bible verses.
We want to give attendees a chance to pray together and for each other outside of the Bible study sessions. I know from experience that prayers during a Bible study can often be more prayers of intercession while prayers of a worship group can be more thankful and I wanted that balance and that opportunity to thank God for what He is doing in all our lives.
Worship in the future will be different but for right now, this seems like the best option.