(An article by Sean Biddle, OFC Director of Worship Ministries)
10 years of marriage this July...
10 homes in 9 different cities...
and a soon-to-be 5 year old daughter...
Those are some brief life-numbers for Julie, Laney and me, or as I've dubbed, “The Biddle Trio.” We've had the opportunity to meet so many quality people, have tasted a lot of good food and have learned a lot about life and the (universal) Church together. There have certainly been many highs and lows to our journey but with a bird’s eye view it’s evident to see God’s hand through it all.
I've served in a wide range of churches from Reformed to Wesleyan, conservative to charismatic and small to mega. The best thing about having seen and being involved in so many different churches is that I've been able to see so many different worship styles, preaching styles and practical ways people carry out their faith in day to day life. It’s easy to point out all of the differences, especially those that separate us, but I love to concentrate on the constant.
Everything I've listed about my experiences are whats and hows. What people believe, what style of music they sing, how people live, etc.
But the constant is WHO. This is what makes the Church, The Church.
I promise you this - the Reformed worship the same God as the Quakers. The conservatives and charismatics, alike, are seeking His Kingdom. Neither the small churches or mega churches have a monopoly in disciple-making or sharing the Gospel.
So how does Who we worship look the same in these contexts?
It all stems from a foundational truth found in ancient texts, quoted by Jesus himself and fleshed out generation after generation called the Shema.
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. 6 Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. 7 Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, 9 and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. - Deuteronomy 6:4-8 (NRSV)
It’s clear to me that at the forefront of our worship is loving God alone. In other words, He’s less concerned about the hows and whats of worship and more concerned about our attitude toward Him, loving him with our bodies (heart), inner-most being (soul) and any other aspect of life (might).