What does two hours of “worship piano” sound like? I had to know. After all, the all-knowing YouTube seems to have thought I would like it.
And I did, I guess. I love piano music. Very relaxing, very melodic. As good, at least, as the rain forest noises that accompany my typical Sunday afternoon nap.
I wouldn’t call it “worship,” though. If you want to argue the piano player was “worshiping” during the performance, we can have that discussion another time. But I certainly wasn’t worshiping. I was listening.
It might have been different if “Amazing Grace,” “I’ll Fly Away” and the like were on the program. Then I might be reciting the words in my mind, and I would have to decide whether that constituted worship — the “contemporary Christian music” argument that has waged hot and heavy for most of my life. But I barely recognized these tunes. I could hardly “sing with the spirit” (1 Corinthians 14:15) if (a) I wasn’t singing at all, and (b) I didn’t even know the words I’m not singing.
All of this is to say, I think we have lost sight of what worship is. Worship is a thoughtful and reverential offering of spiritual service (Romans 12:1), performed by humans. I do not honor God by listening to pretty tunes. I honor God by lifting up His name with my mouth (Psalm 113:1-4).
And while I’m at it, I might as well do it the way we are told — “making melody with your heart [that is, not your piano] to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).
Oh, and by the way, will someone explain to me how listening to other people worship satisfies my own obligation to worship? Just asking.