I was typing an article while my dear wife was listening to a Christian radio program when the guest said over the radio how music is the life of the church, or something to that effect. He discussed how church should zero in more on music today because God's presence is already felt strongly through music to touch people's lives even before actual church service begins.
We're not just criticizing what church people do here--we believe that faithfulness to God's Word and ways is better than what we think we accomplish in church and in our ministries.
To many church people, "worship" is singing and music. That has been the wrong notion going around for decades now, even centuries perhaps. We think that good church music (and what we mean by "good" is music that "touches" us and makes us cry and go to the altar) is a major part of worship, if not being worship itself. So we see church musicians and worship teams and choir members practicing for hours--sometimes even days--to "perfect" their presentation and blend all voices.
Funny how many Christians believe that no one can be perfect even in Christ but practice hard, over and over again, to "perfect" their choir or worship team performance. Why else would they keep practicing--sometimes even spending sleepless nights--if they don't believe in "perfecting" their singing or music? What God's Flesh believes is, we should perfect our lives in Christ more than we should spend effort to perfect our church music.
Back to worship teams or choir members, when they perform on stage with perfect blending voices and instruments, the congregation clap with teary eyes and say that God is in their midst. Well, worship or no worship, God is always in our midst--because he is everywhere. And that Presence is not there because we worship good according to worldly standards (the church measures "worship quality" the same way the world measures stage performances, especially where music and singing are concerned). God's Presence is there because of his grace and mercy--it's not due to any "quality" we ascribe to our performance.
Singing and music are but a very small part of true worship. If true worship were the size of a basketball, singing and music are but one tiny, minuscule speck of dust on it your eyes won't see. True worship is the WORD, first and last, Alpha and Omega. When you soak deep in the spoken WORD, Jesus Christ promises to be there personally (not just his omnipresence) with the Father and reveal himself to you [John 14.21].
"Whoever has my commands and keeps them
is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be
loved by my Father, and I too will love them
and show myself to them."
That's true worship that God wants and rewards with his unique presence--not our singing or music.
Now, the Psalmist, David son of Jesse, was immersed in the spoken Word of God and that made him break into singing and writing psalms for God. It is different with most "worshipers" today. They treat the bible lightly and focus on sharpening their singing or music skills. I've seen a lot of them. They're so good at entertaining the audience on stage but their lives are empty where the spoken Word of God is concerned. And they can make people go to the altar and cry!
Look at what Paul said on true worship: "..offer (or present) your bodies (or lives) as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God--this is your spiritual worship [Romans 12]. And holiness and acceptability to God, again, goes back to John 14:21.
Music is never the life of the church. The WORD is.