Worship is Revelation & Response. I decided to put this phrase across some chalk boards in our green room here at Calvary. This room is where we meet before we step out onstage to serve 1,000 people weekly through musical worship. The chalk boards serve as a reminder of what worship is *supposed* to be about: Revelation & Response. Notice it doesn't have anything to do with perfectly executed chords, crazy guitar licks, LED lighting, or moving slide backgrounds. Worship is an interaction between God and people. Worship is 1) Revelation and 2) Response.
Revelation is the first distinction of musical worship. God initiates revelation.
Our chalk board currently reads, "God does this." In other words revelation is not man-made. The Apostle Paul reminds his readers in Galatia, "From Paul, whose call to be an apostle did not come from human beings or by human means, but from Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from death." What is he referring to? Most likely Acts Ch 9 where God initiates a revelation of himself so dramatic that Paul completely changes the trajectory of his life. Revelation is something God does. He initiates. He reveals things like: his glory, truth, holiness, grace, love, character, and plans. Worship is Revelation.
After God reveals we respond. Response is the second distinction of musical worship.
I love the picture of God revealing his holiness to the people of Israel at the foot of Mt. Sinai. After God's presence rests on the mountain, evidenced through natural wonders, the people respond. Exodus 20:18-19 reads, "When the people heard the thunder and the trumpet blast and saw the lightning and the smoking mountain, they trembled with fear and stood a long way off. They said to Moses, 'If you speak to us, we will listen; but we are afraid that if God speaks to us, we will die.'” Our response can be things like praise, repentance, joy, singing, clapping, cheering, acceptance, and sacrificial giving. On our chalk board we wrote a short list of possible responses. Below that list I wrote the words, "We do this." This is our response. This is where we act.
I'm probably preaching to the choir when writing about the need for people to respond. How many crossed arms, blank looks, glowing faces illuminated from smart phones have you seen in the midst of musical worship? We need to work harder at teaching our churches and our worship arts teams the two distinctions of Revelation and Response. Without our leadership people may continue to set their expectations too low. At best they will see musical worship as a concert. They will expect great spiritual music and emotive moments. But as the last chalk board shows, our bar ought to be transformation. This isn't a concert. This is a chance to be transformed.
God reveals (he does this). We respond (we do this).