Team Builder: Instrumental Worship And Lent
Featuring WorshipTraining Posted on March 8, 2011
A very special Wednesday is ahead of us this week.
Ash Wednesday is this Wednesday, March 9, and is the beginning day of what we call "Lent." Ash Wednesday is called a "moveable feast," because it lands on a different day each year.
Let's review. Lent is one of the most important seasons in the Worship Year, as it leads us to Easter - the high holiday of the Worship Year. Ash Wednesday begins Lent, and leads us over 40 days (not including Sundays) right up to Resurrection Day.
Lent is a season of focused and intentional spiritual reflection; a time to examine our hearts, embrace the cleansing power of the cross, and to address any areas of our lives that we may be resisting God's presence in.
Recently, I co-led a largely instrumental worship set for Lent. A twenty-something young man came up to me afterward and said "Thank you for not using too many words during that worship time - they would have just gotten in the way of my conversation with God."
Instrumental music, either played as entire pieces or as breaks in the midst of a worship set, can create a vital space for worshippers to reflect in the days preceding the resurrection celebration that is Easter.
In our day, we primarily use lyrically-based songs during our worship sets. But during Lent, remember how powerful it can be to create sections of the worship set that are "larger than words" – and musically invite worshippers to engage with God on another level.
The state of our own hearts often eludes us; instrumental worship moments during Lent can give people "space" to reflect, confess or pray in a way that goes beyond words. A melody, a texture, a musical interlude can be a sacred place to which we go. With a little bit of direction, that musical space can be a unique and powerful meeting place with God for those we lead in worship.
Practically, consider playing through a song instrumentally, and leaving the words out for all or part of the song. Specifically, invite those you are leading to carry on a conversation with God during that part of the set, based on the lyrics in their mind, or based on their own words of longing.
Finally, find that space of reflection, confession and vulnerable prayer for yourself during Lent, and use instrumental music that moves you to honest heart evaluation. Then, use your unique gifts to create that kind of space for others, in homes or in gatherings.
Praying for you, and entering with you into this great season of worship,
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