Over the years I have heard talks about the typical or ideal flow of worship, usually starting with declaration (about the truths of God and why we worship) moving to celebration (our joyous response to these wonderful truths), moving onto intimacy (deeply felt songs about our closeness to God) and hopefully ending with commission (singing our missional response to go out and be salt and light).
Of course there is no perfect flow or formula for worship but often we either consciously or subconsciously develop a pattern because we are generally creatures of habit. A while back I posted on the lack of joy in our worship songs and I have to say recently in my church there has been a lot more joy in our worship times and I am happy about that (if you'll pardon the pun). However, I was reflecting on these elements of declaration, celebration, intimacy and commission and couldn't help thinking there is a missing ingredient: Preparation.
Now ideally we would all individually prepare ourselves before coming together to worship and all be raring to go, but if you are struggling with life's circumstances that is not always easy. And what about those going through serious illness, marriage break ups, redundancy, bereavement and a multitude of other situations that are incredibly tough and have no easy answers, how do they get themselves ready to worship?
Well I wonder could we help by making the start of our worship time accessible, real and inclusive? Rather than going straight to declare God's greatness why not really acknowledge where different people are at and invite us all, despite our circumstances to fix our eyes and soul on Jesus, the one who can meet us where we are. There are many ways we can do this and I would like to share two with you.
The first is a video (An Honest Welcome). If I was to use this I would take the words, make them my own, read them out as a personal welcome and call to worship.
The second is a song "Come on my soul" by Rend Collective Experiment. I think this is the best song to start a time of worship. It helps us individually and collectively sing to the deep of our souls telling them to open up and sing to the Lord. Every time I listen to this song I get to the end of it and I am in a place of worship.
So have a watch of these videos and let me know what you think, what's your ideas for songs or other methods that could or have helped prepare us to worship Jesus the king?