Lord's Day Liturgy

Right On

What would you say to someone who says that a Reformed church worship setting feels more like a funeral, with depressing music, and no real excitement?

I saw this question asked online, and I saw immediate answers such as feeling more like a funeral is good based on the blessed mourners in Matthew 5:4. Other answers were that church is not for entertainment, that music ought to be most concerned with lyrical accuracy, that excitement isn’t a valid gauge of what’s truly worshipful.

And, okay. The church meets to worship the holy God, through the Son who was slain for our sin, by the Spirit that convicts the world of unrighteousness. Even as God’s people we still sin and it is right to lament our sin. We lament the irreverence/unbelief/idolatry of our neighbors. We also lament the errors and unfaithfulness of the church.

But, if someone asked me if the worship services of those who claim to believe the gospel and to love the doctrines of God’s sovereign grace are often more like a funeral, with depressing music and no real excitement, I would tell them that they are too often right on. They’ve nailed it. It’s true. What is wrong is not the observation, though they may be wrongly critical.

A physical therapist doesn’t criticize the broken for failing to really think about why he’s broken. A teacher is not successful when getting the student to realize how ignorant he is, and that’s it. And worship, while requiring honesty and humility, should not be preachers urging the worshippers to attain higher levels of misery.

Worship is about exalting the Lamb who was slain, and celebrating that we are made to share His honor as we proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of the darkness and into His marvelous light. We needed mercy, and how we have received mercy (1 Peter 2:9-10). That is just not depressing.