Banging the drum

Another great aspect of yesterday's all-night prayer and worship vigil is that we engaged in participatory music. Usually at our church gatherings, there is a talented and trained worship band that leads us relatively untalented and untrained people in musical expressions of worship. Yesterday in the wee hours of the morning we all made music together. We had one guitarist and lead vocalist, our worship pastor, Loren Johnson. The rest of us formed a large percussion band. There were bongo drums and other percussion instruments set around the room for anyone to use. And use them we did!

I liked this experience for two main reasons. First, we all expressed ourselves to God musically, and we did it in community. We were together in that expression. There were no spectators, only participants.

For me, it was a wonderful sensation getting to play along with the "big boys." I sat next to two masterful percussionists, and I did my best to blend in with their lead as I experimented with bongo playing. The point is that I was playing with them. It was great fun! And it was a wonderful expression of communal worship when each person's contribution blends with the contributions of the others. Together as one, we all joined in heart and voice and bongo drums and marakas and whatever we could find to communicate adoration to God.

The second thing I liked about worshiping together with percussion is that the music we made was different from the typical worship band sound. I don't think we need to be different just to be different, but it was a reminder that God has no prescribed musical form that he prefers to hear from us. What he prefers to hear is the expression of hearts turned toward him with love, happiness, and reverence. Musical forms are the expression. What matters most is the heart. By this definition, we worshiped well.


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