Revelation 4:8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
While doing the dishes tonight I was listening to Lisa Gottshall sing “Worthy is the Lamb,” a 13 minute song in which Lisa sings variants of “Worthy is the Lamb slain, to receive all the power/honor/glory” over and over. Several times I stopped and lifted my hands and basked in the reality of it. This made me wonder if sometimes the songs we sing in church are too short. Our worship music appears to be structured after pop songs – verse, chorus, verse, chorus, and bridge or some such structure. The potential problem with this is that pop and worship songs have different goals. The goal of pop music is entertainment; the goal of worship is glorification of God and transformation of the singers. If you want to transform a cucumber into a pickle you need to leave it in the vinegar for a while. The same goes for worship. Sometimes, to embrace what we are singing we need to sing the words more than once or twice – we need to sing the words over and over again.
Revelation 4:8, which is quoted above, was the only verse that came to mind when I tried to think of examples or instructions on how to worship in the Bible. In the Psalms we have many examples of what the people of God sang, but we don’t know how they sang it. Did they sing the psalm once through or did they repeat it over and over? I was trained in worship by Morningstar church in North Carolina and the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, Missouri. Songs at Morningstar in the ‘90s often went twenty minutes or longer. And IHOP teams worship in two hour slots around the clock. Therefore, repetition was normal for me. What does this do for those of us in the meetings? It gets the songs into the heads of the congregation. And it gives us time to really ponder or be moved by what we are singing.
Linger in worship.