It finally happened. I have heard a “praise and worship song” that venerates praise and worship. It was bound to happen because P&W isn’t anything new. It is another in a long line of trends that are neither good nor bad, but have a potential to be either. Humanity exists to worship God, but ever since we chose to glorify ourselves rather than the Creator, we have been in search of something to worship. Anything will do and we tend to go with the herd—the trend—when it comes to our idol of choice.
The way we worship God has always been a source of danger. Throughout Biblical history we see example after example of idolatry born out of attempts to worship the Creator. When Moses tarried too long on the mountain with God, the people had Aaron build a calf so that they could worship God. When Jeroboam saw a threat in his people having to go to Jerusalem to worship, he made idols and told them that they represented God.
And through Christian history we have seen a similar pattern. The church experiences God and chases after a repetition of the event. We fall in love with the worship instead of the object of our worship. Three or four decades ago people began to prefer a more direct, more intimate style of worship and it was good. The old way was good too, but for many it had become rote—tradition without reason. And since the tradition had become venerated, we experienced the “worship wars” in churches all around the world.
Eventually things settled down and the new way became the status quo. And now one gets the feeling that it is burning itself out as well. It has often ceased to be about God and is now just the latest object of our affections. It has become hard to distinguish between worship services and concerts. It is hard to distinguish between these songs and generic love songs.
I know it is trendy today for artists of faith to do generic “worship” albums. That is where the money is. But what we need again today is a return to the profound explorations of God and His truth. “Spiritual song” like the ones Paul refers to in his writings that—more than praise—teach and remind us of God’s words to us. We need to rediscover that real worship happens outside the weekly concert. It is found where life is lived the rest of the week. The P&W part is really just the overflow of a life lived in worship.