About Me

My photo
I'm a Christian, married to a wonderful man, Steven, and mother to a wonderful little son. I have many interests and a few noteworthy journeys in life and I enjoy sharing them.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Feeling the Spirit in Worship

Just about every Mormon has heard it. There's a notion that the Spirit can't be felt at all, or not as well, in certain times and places--when the music includes drums and electric guitars, in "other churches," when someone is not walking quite right with God.

The church my husband and I got baptized at wasn't the one we attended regularly. It's a tiny little foursquare church, and we'd been doing a book study there, because some of Steven's family attends there. They are very strong in their fellowship, particularly because they're a tiny church, and they were holding baptisms. We didn't know when our church was going to hold baptisms again, so we signed up. The church really didn't fit us--but it really fits other people, and draws those people to God, which is the ultimate point. Just because it didn't fit us for regular church attendance doesn't make it a bad church, or any less blessed by God. My parents went to see us be baptized, though, and my mom's comment later on was that she "just didn't feel the Spirit there."

The problem wasn't with the church, or a lack of the Spirit being there. The problem is that the Mormon church gives this impression that only the Mormon way and only the Mormon standards of righteousness can invite the Spirit in strongly enough.

I heard many times over the years that adding in guitars and drums took away from the reverence and therefore took away from the Spirit. Is this really so? I certainly don't think so. I rarely felt truly stirred by Mormon hymns--not that I never did, just not always. Yet regularly my heart is touched and I feel great joy in the worship music at my church, and they have drums and guitars, and we clap at the end sometimes.

In a way, I'm sure its personal preference. My husband enjoys worship music that I don't really seek out just because its more rock music, but that doesn't mean that it worships the Lord any less. I'm sure some people really do enjoy a quiet church with just pianos and hymns and nothing more. I don't think the Spirit is any less absent for any of these, if God is the focus. People can shout praises just as well as they can quietly share them, and its all praise to God.

Also, there are false spirits that could be felt, and also make it harder to feel the Spirit of God. I can't deny that I got all sorts of good feelings that I called the Spirit when I was a Mormon, but the Bible warns us of false spirits. We wouldn't have this warning if it weren't for the fact that these false spirits can make us think they're the Spirit of God.

In many ways, though, I think it ultimately comes down to the sort of brainwashing the church is frighteningly good at. They say it over and over, and since a member believes it is the leaders and members of the true church saying it, then it must be true, so if a Mormon attends another church and isn't completely open-minded to the style of worship and teaching--and especially if the other church worships and teaches too differently--then they will only get what they expected. Its self-fulfilling.

When the Mormon religion comes to other countries or regions, sometimes their way of worship is different--they sing differently, usually: clapping and singing out and standing and raising their hands to the Lord. Yet the Mormon religion imposes their way as the only right way. Yet are those people worshiping wrong? Aren't they rejoicing in the Lord? Aren't they pouring out their hearts to God? Aren't they celebrating their culture, their traditions? How is that wrong?

Here's a good example of praising God and a Spirit-filled song, even though it includes more instruments than just the piano and isn't a traditional hymn. Please take time to listen. See if you can identify with the lyrics. See if its truly worshiping God. Do you think God would find it to be not good enough even though it doesn't follow the traditional Mormon way of worship?

There is no one "right" way to worship. There is no one "right" way to feel the true Spirit of God. It is the message, not the method. If its all about Christ, if it draws the people into fellowship with Christ and each other, if it teaches of a saving relationship with Christ, if God's message is the message taught, if all is don't with the love of God...then the Spirit will always be there. It is your choice whether to feel it or not.

No comments:

Post a Comment