Don’t get me wrong.
I love those rousing worship songs. I love the drums, the wailing guitars, the beautiful voices, the happy melodies.
But consider this: what used to commonly be called the Sanctuary, is now most often referred to as the Worship Center.
A sanctuary is a safe place, a haven.
Time was, a worshipper could enter in quietness and reverence and sit in one of the pews before the service…or at other times, too. There, the soul could pour out his or her heart. Repent, grieve, rail at, offer intercession, wrestle with, weep, or contemplate the mysteries of God and His greatness.
But as I enter my church—a church I love and wholeheartedly support in its many ministries—the quietness and the contemplation which I’d been enjoying as I walked toward the building is abruptly broken by the music emanating from the Worship Center.
It’s happy, praise-type music. The drums and the bass guitar make my chest vibrate.
I like loud music—really, I do.
But before the service, can’t we once, just once, have quiet, contemplative music?
I’m not that old or old fashioned.
I feel as if the evangelical churches are communicating to me as I enter the church: “only happy faces here. Any other mood that you project will be judged and condemned.”
I know that each culture deems corporate praise and worship according to its own customs. And, after all, the corporate worship is, well, about Christ’s Body.
I don’t have a problem with the loud music during the worship service. Sometimes, the worship leader changes it out and does something soft and mellow.
But, like those who aren’t morning people, can’t we have a quiet time to adjust to full wakefulness?
I have my places of individual worship where I meet God daily.
But, honestly, would you barge into a room like a marching band if you knew that the people within were praying, or weeping in grief, or confessing their most intimate sins?
I think this is what the churches do sometimes with their distractingly loud music before the service.
Wouldn’t it be great if the Worship Center could also be a place for preparation of the heart, for quiet contemplation, for undistracted prayer before the “real worship” begins. They do that in some churches. The worshipers enter quietly, reverently, with the anticipation of kneeling—physically or in their hearts—before the great Creator.
Have you ever thought this, too? I wish the worship leaders and the pastors of our evangelical churches would let the time before worship in the Worship Center be a Sanctuary for the hurting—which is all of us.
More thoughts later on the beauty and awesomeness of the Sanctuary.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul years, even faints for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” (Psalm 84: 1, 2 NIV Bible)