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Jul10TueWhen we come together to worship each week, we must think beyond notes, forms, styles or techniques and focus on God. July 10, 2012 Aux-Captain Alain Suamunu-Luasu
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- Opinion & Critical Thought
During a recent conversation with another Salvationist about our ministry at Toronto's Yorkwoods Community Church, I was asked how many contemporary praise songs and hymns we use in our services. I explained that we balance our services with music that reflects our rich heritage and music that is applicable to our culture today.
As I thought further about the question, I asked the person, “Isn't every song we sing a praise song?” Every hymn, psalm, spiritual song and chorus that we use in our worship service is in some way praising God for the victory that is in him. As we read in Psalm 66:1-4: “Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious. Say to God, 'How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name.'”
During our worship class last quarter, we read about how King Jehoshaphat sent musicians and singers out ahead of his army as they were going in to battle (see 2 Chronicles 20). I'm not sure that I would want that gig. As he goes to battle, the king is sending out the worship band first and then sends his troops (who have all the weapons) behind them. What kind of battle strategy is that? Are the musicians expected to protect themselves with their voices or instruments? Well, that's exactly what happened.
“After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendour of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: 'Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.' As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated” (2 Chronicles 20:21-22).
When we come together as the body of Christ, we offer praise to God even in the midst of a spiritual battle that is all around us. Our offering of praise is neither fast nor slow, old or new, joyful or sad, acapella or instrumental. Our offering of praise is a victory cry. It is not even the music offered that gives us victory. It is the very presence of God himself that has defeated the enemy.
Darlene Zschech, songwriter and author, says that “thanksgiving and praise paves the way for us to go in to the awesome throne room of the King of Kings! There is tremendous power in bringing an offering of thanksgiving to God. Praise invades Hell and excites Heaven!”
When we come together to worship each week, we must think beyond notes, forms, styles or techniques and focus on the truth that no matter what you and I are facing in battle, the answer is in the arms of God! That's the power of praise!
“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever the lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well. It is well with my soul!”
Aux-Captain Alain Suamunu-Luasu is the corps officer of Toronto's Yorkwoods Community Church.