Times change, people change… but should worship
change as well? It’s a question that often goes by
unnoticed until the believer is confronted by the
variety of ways in which worship is performed during
church services, from the traditional acappella to displays
of light and sound worthy of a televised production.
Reflecting on his vast experience as a worship leader,
Manuel Luz offers us a fresh, sincere perspective of
worship – an “honest worship” towards God..
I recall one of A Casa da Cidade’s worship team rehearsals, when one of the worship leaders asked the following question to the rest of the group: “Who do we play and sing for?” That question caught me completely by surprise. Almost instinctively, I replied we were there for the rest of the congregation; after all, it’s up to the worship team to guide the other attendees in singing and celebration, in that little window of church service time we are given to praise God. Of course I wish I hadn’t given that reckless answer when I was reminded of who truly was our “audience” – God. Paraphrasing the words of Kierkegaard, the worship leader made me see how the whole church unites to praise the Lord – those who sit round the stage are as much part of the celebration as those who stand on the stage. It is a simple concept that is very easily ignored when we get carried away by the subtle narcissism of our times.
This is the reason why Manuel Luz’s work couldn’t come at a better time. The American worship leader shares his experiences and speaks of his definition of honest worship. To Luz, worship is not merely an action, but a continuous attitude that requires humility and faith in an age of pride and skepticism. Its message of both transparency and consistency applies to every believer who seeks a strong, genuine relationship with God, and it transcends doctrines, denominations, and established forms of worship in church services.
Manuel Luz reflects on the human being’s unique nature to show how important the true, authentic worship promoted by his work really is: a human being made in the image of his Creator seeks to express himself in creative ways, and worship is no exception – if there is something that the diversity in worship found across the denominations proves is the capacity of the body of Christ to imagine and innovate. However, human nature’s corruption by the sin of pride is an obstacle almost unavoidable to honest worship, since we easily seek our own glorification when we should seek to glorify the only being worthy of praise. This pride takes root in an even deeper and inconspicuous way in our individualistic culture, where appearances and instant gratification are paramount. Before these circumstances, the author rallies us to have the extraordinary attitude of living for the one we worship, making the best of every opportunity to be examples of Christ in the life of our neighbor.
Honest Worship is a succinct work that invites us to face worship as it should be: a reflection of Christ’s character at all times. The book is made specifically for the reader to meditate on its content, with a personal challenge at the end of each chapter and a Q&A section for discussion groups that motivate the reader to adopt this new way of thinking and living – a philosophy of selflessness for the Creator, the One who empowers us with the ability to worship Him.
Manuel Luz – INTERVARSITY PRESS