Friday, April 29, 2005

Friendship & the Fear

One worship leader, who is having an increasing impact on Christian music, strives to hold in creative tension the two elements of friendship and fear. Matt Redman, author of such songs as "Heart of Worship," "Better Is One Day," and "Let My Words Be Few," leads the group Soul Survivor, which meets in a large warehouse in London, England. One year, concerned that worship music was turning the focus to musicians rather than God, Redman and his pastor took the daring step of eliminating all music from worship services. After that period of "fasting," he emerged with a new understanding of worship. As he said in a radio interview:

[Worship] is best summed up in Ephesians 5:10, which says, "Find out what pleases the Lord." If you're talking about music, you want to bring an offering that is going to please him and obviously he is not worried about the music, what style it is or if you're playing in time and stuff. When you pour out your heart with the music and you back it up with your life, that is probably the heart of worship.

An album Redman released in 1998, The Friendship and the Fear, takes its title from a verse in Psalm 25: "The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him." Redman continues exploring the borderland between friendship and fear, for authentic worship encompasses both. It is the proper response when a holy God extends to flawed human beings an invitation to intimacy. In the Hebrew Old Testament, the primary word for worship means "to bow down in reverence and submission." And in the New Testament, the most common Greek word for worship means "to come forward to kiss." Between those two—or combining both—lies our best approach to God.

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