Church is Not a Concert Hall

The temple musicians had no work other than worshiping God. They stayed in the temple singing night and day. What a perfect picture of the heavenly temple, where the praise song “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord” around God’s throne never ceases.

Now these, the singers, the heads of fathers’ houses of the Levites, were in the chambers of the temple free from other service, for they were on duty day and night, (1 Chronicles 9:33).

How would our modern worship change, I wonder, if we took this example to heart?

God intends praise and worship to be something that is constantly bubbling from our hearts. Not as a show we turn on during church services.

I’m sorry to say this. But it seems to me that worship is becoming a little too professional. Like an on-stage performance, with volume so loud we barely hear ourselves, let alone others, singing. Truthfully, it almost feels more fitting to sit during the ‘concert’, then clap for the good performance.

But the sad thing is we risk losing both awe towards our holy God, and the united feel of worshiping as one big family. And we also forget that we don’t need to prepare everything perfectly, because God loves the sincere praise of a spontaneous heart.

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!(Psalm 98:4)

This verse says all the earth should make a joyous noise to the Lord. And it makes me think that birds singing, kittens purring, and the sound of waterfalls running off cliffs pleases him. But he loves the goose’s discordant honking or the cow’s loud bellowing just as much. Because creation praises him by simply doing what it’s created for.

And likewise, we praise him by being and doing what he created us for.

There were always musicians in the temple singing and playing, day and night, at established times. God was continually praised, as befits his holiness.

They didn’t think of perfect stage settings, or good intonation. It didn’t matter if the congregation ‘liked’ it, or not. In the middle of the night no one, other than the heavenly multitude, was there to hear anyway!

God created us to praise him. To praise and bless him all the time.

 I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth, (Psalm 34:1).

With or without music. With perfect execution or with wrong notes. In tune or out of tune. But never as a performance. We perform for ourselves, or for others. But the only thing we can do before God is bow before him in holy worship. His house is not a concert hall — it’s a place for his presence.

And we need to bring back the holy hush that we seem to have lost.

It’s important to give God our best, and never our leftovers. But I think he values simplicity more than perfectionism. He’s not asking for a show, but wants to see us bow before him in humble worship and awe.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.” Don’t you long to get that song back?

[Tuscan church interior ©garbanzononno]

9 thoughts on “Church is Not a Concert Hall

      1. I agree. The chances are probably slim in public worship though. It’s really going over the top in many places. Pure entertainment, or torture, depending upon the person. Earplugs may be a partial remedy but I’m afraid they would be enough. Lol

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  1. I do agree that we can and often do go over the top in our presentation of worship. However, I can also appreciate doing all things well and giving it 100%. Don’t forget that in 1 Chronicles 25 David appoints the musicians for temple worship. 1 chronicles 25:1 says David and the temple officials chose the descendants of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun to be in charge of music. They were to praise the Lord by playing cymbals, harps and other stringed instruments. We tend to forget that the very nature of these instruments and the design of the temple structure would have made the worship in the temple extremely loud.
    Psalms 100 does say to make a joyful noise!!!

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    1. I totally agree, Enzo. We must give God our very best, not our leftovers. But so much of the time it seems more show than dwelling in God’s presence and worshiping him.

      And yes, there is a place for loud music. That is, in fact, why we also have forte, e fortissimo as musical terms. But a musical instrument played by a true maestro (who is giving his/her best) can achieve that without cranking the loud speakers up to the point of deafening the listeners, lol!

      I think there is a big difference between making a loud joyful noise done with true musical skill. And just cranked up loud speakers.

      And I do think that with our loud speakers, special lighting, even smoke sometimes, and jumping quickly from one thing to the next – with no pause, that we leave little time and space for savoring God’s presence. I’d like to see less “orchestration”, rushed activity, and perfection. And more time for silence, awe, and reflection. It just seems there is so little of that any more.

      Appreciate your viewpoint. And that we can agree on making a joyful noise…right along with the cows and geese!

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  2. I love your thoughts. I agree.. we should not pretend in our worship, but praise the one who made us from the rising of the sun in the morning to the setting… and not just leave it for a Sunday one hour time frame only.. Great post Sheila.

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