Read Psalm 150
1 Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord. (NIV)
God is not a Pentecostal. Or a Roman Catholic. Or an Anglican. He may not even be an evangelical! In other words, he is not captive to any one way of approaching him. It is not as if on any given Sunday he decides a bit of upbeat music is what he needs and on another Sunday he goes all sacramental. It is not as if he hungers for the old hymns or gets tired of the repeated choruses.
Our Psalm speaks of the praise of God through various instruments. God probably doesn’t have any favourites. He just loves it when people praise him, whether they do it loudly or quietly, via a written liturgy or more spontaneously. Of course we have our preferences and can rightly stick to them. But we dare not equate those preferences with what pleases God.
It is a sort of spiritual snobbery to look down on forms of corporate worship that don’t appeal to us. An Anglican prayer-book liturgy may be regarded as all rather routine and dry. In fact it can be the solid and unchanging means by which someone whose life is in chaos can find a degree of order and refuge. A Pentecostal praise meeting can have some turn up their noses at the hype and loud volume. In fact it can be a valid expression of deep passion and an exuberant trust in God even if there are some other emotions within us that might be dragging us down.
Enough with such snobbery and condescension. God delights in the heartfelt praises of his people. There is hypocrisy and pretence in all traditions. There is sincerity and passion in all traditions. God doesn’t seem to mind being worshipped in different ways. Nor should we.