Worship or Entertainment
ELEVENTH ANNUAL COMMUNITY HYMN SING
Led by DONALD P. HUSTAD, editor of THE WORSHIPING CHURCH: A HYMNAL
Assisted by the SBTS Oratorio Chorus
Tuesday, February 20, 2007, 7:30 P.M., Alumni Memorial Chapel
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
For information, please call 502-897-4115.
INSTITUTE OF CHRISTIAN WORSHIP LECTURES—color flyer
WORSHIP OR ENTERTAINMENT
Is there no real difference between worship and entertainment? I believe there is a world of difference, even though I have some inkling as to why today's culture has confused the two. . . .
ENTERTAINMENT typically results from the WORK OF OTHERS, for my interest, pleasure, recreation, amusement, or diversion. Good entertainment edifies me when, through phenomena of God's creation, it provides renewal for body, mind, and emotions. In the experience of entertainment, as a Christian believer I may momentarily thank God for such a gift. But, even though the setting (as in a symphony concert) may have many similarities to a church service, the experience is not holy worship, even for me personally, and certainly not for the gathered group.
WORSHIP, on the other hand, is the WORK OF THE WORSHIPER for the glory and pleasure of God. I am edified (helped, blessed, made more holy, ministered to) by worshiping God, because my attention and energy are directed toward comprehending, experiencing, and responding to who God is and what God has done. Of course, my worship, my work for God, has elements that provide pleasure, such as my recognition of friends and cobelievers; the ambiance of familiar sights, sounds, and actions; or my response to humor in the sermon or to beauty in the music. But this pleasure has "worship meaning" only as it makes me aware of God's presence or contributes to my "work for god"—MY PLEASURE IN GOD HIMSELF. It is for this reason St. Augustine felt that anything in worship that distracted him from centering on God—even if that thing was intended to help him experience God—was sinful. He said, "So oft as it befalls me to be more moved with the voice that with the ditty (song], I confess to have grievously offended; at which time I wish rather not to have heard the music."
It would seem, then, that all of us have difficulty preventing holy worship from degenerating into ordinary entertainment.
—Donald P. Hustad, TRUE WORSHIP: RECLAIMING THE WONDER AND MAJESTY. Wheaton: Harold Shaw/Hope, 1998, pp. 179-80. ISBN 0-87788-838-8
[If you have friends in the Louisville area, please let them know about our February 20th community hymn sing with Don Hustad. The link at the top of the page will reveal a color flyer for the upcoming Institute of Christian Worship Lectures (Keith and Kristyn Getty, Ken Myers, & Steven Halla). Feel free to forward it to those who would be interested.]
Have a great week,
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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