Yesterday I took the advise of BJ, my co-worker with the Open Door, to download the emergent podcast series with Miroslov Volf. Dr. Volf is a Croatian professor at Yale Divinity School. He was one of Tony Jones' (National Coordinator of Emergent US) professors when Tony was in undergrad.
One statement that Volf made about worship particularly impacted me. In the first episode, among many other things, Volf said that he chose to be a part of the Episcopal church because he felt their worship was designed as times where people meet God. Volf said that many of the churches he's been to and particularly the sermons he'd heard were nothing more than pop-psychology, a simple self-help on how to be a better person. These worship gatherings had little to do with encountering the triune God, rather they were about making you feel a little guilty about something that you need to change or do better in your life. Or they were just about making you feel good.
When was the last time you encountered God in worship? When was the last time you really KNEW the Holy Spirit in worship? At the Open Door we want people to encounter God in worship, but I don't know if we get it right all the time. Sometimes I know we do. On the other hand, I don't think we can "design" God into worship. It's definitely not like if we get the music just right and the multisensory aspects of worship connected just right to the sermon that the Holy Spirit is somehow automatically engaged. I think true worship happens when people come to worship God in Spirit and in truth; when we come together as a community with our defenses down and our expectation that God wants to connect with His people in a powerful way. True worship happens when we all come to worship for no reason but to WORSHIP. When we leave our expectations and our hopes to have some powerful experience behind and simply come together to give to God what is God's we find ourselves in God's presense and ready to be transformed by the action of the Word - Jesus Christ.