At the recent WorshipGod09 conference, I taught a seminar called, “Let the People be Glad: Corporate Worship and Expressiveness.” I attempted to present some biblical principles for what we’re supposed to do with our bodies when we gather to praise God together. I know for some of you that’s a no-brainer, but for others it’s still a front-burner issue.
John Piper is a great example of what happens when the heart’s passion for God is naturally expressed externally. He practices what he’s written in his books and proclaims in his preaching—worship (whether it’s singing or preaching) consists of strong affections rooted in biblical truth. Here’s what he’s said on the topic:
“God is glorified in his people by the way we experience him, not merely by the way we think about him.” (When I Don’t Desire God, 30)
Strong affections for God, rooted in and shaped by the truth of Scripture – this is the bone and marrow of biblical worship. (Desiring God, 81)
“Godly people are seen yearning, longing, hungering, thirsting, and fainting for God. They are also seen enjoying, delighting in, and being satisfied in God.” (When I Don’t Desire God, 24)
“My understanding of preaching is music without the music.” (from the WorshipGod09 message, “The Heart of Worship“)
See if you can hear the music (without the words) in these pictures from WorshipGod09. One thing’s clear: John Piper is doing more than simply talking about God—he’s experiencing him. I guess that’s why he says preaching is meant to be “expository exultation.” Seems to me this is a great example of what we should be seeking to do when we’re leading the musical portion of corporate worship. That is, letting our bodies show what our minds are thinking and our hearts are feeling as we consider how great our God really is. (For more on physical expressiveness in worship, you can check out the series of posts I wrote starting with this one.)