A funny thing has been happening recently. I've started to really enjoy worship again...
It isn't that I haven't liked worship up until now, it's just different from what I was used to. Different, but good. Different, not just in style, but in content.
Pentecostal worship music is more touchy-feely, more emotional. It was also considerably longer.
Services that lasted 3-4 hours weren't all that unusual. The praise and worship portion of the service could run for a good hour (sometimes more) at the beginning, and then they'd do more at the end. It was intense. The worship leader didn't just lead the music, he preached a bit, "coached" you to do things or say things, etc. It is easier to "feel" like you're participating in worship (rather than just observing it) when you have time to warm up & encouragement do something (raise hands, shout, dance, whatever). I began to wonder whether what I had enjoyed for so long was truly fellowship with God or just some well orchestrated warm fuzzies.
The services at my current church are upbeat, but not manipulative. I've appreciated that from my very first visit. I've always enjoyed the music... but lately, I've caught myself slipping into that place that I used to call "real worship" again. It's hard to describe if you haven't been there. For me, it's when I'm singing a song and the words come alive, even tho I've sung them a million times before. It's the point where I'm singing not because everyone else is singing--not because I like to sing--and certainly not because someone else wants to hear me--but because at that very moment those particular words have brought to life a powerful reality about God in a way that I can't ignore. I might as well be hearing them for the first time. It's a "wow" moment.
When I stopped going to charismatic/Pentecostal churches, I thought that maybe those "wow" moments were just warm fuzzies or moments that were created by emotionalism and manipulation... and that needed to be left behind. I'm glad I was wrong.
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