Friday, April 30, 2010
Freedom and Boundaries in Worship
Order is a friend of freedom. Chaos is a cesspool of slavery. If we are to be truly free, we must have boundaries. When every player agrees on the rules of a game, each is free to play his or her best without frustration. When no one agrees, everyone is hindered in their progress. In fact, the very existence of games is predicated upon rules. The Bible takes great pains to bring structure, order, and limits to our worship, while also encouraging us to be creative and exuberant in our expressions. Jesus is clear that true worshipers will do so in Spirit and in Truth. Paul demands orderliness and also says where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. We are much more able to enjoy a drink that is restricted to its cup than one that has been freed from such limitations and is now liberated to a puddle on the floor. To be sure, even then, the liquid is simply obeying the limitations of space and gravity.
The real heart behind the questions these young men posed is, "Can I trust those who have the authority to set the boundaries for me?" Now that's a telling question, and one we should expect young men to be wrestling with. Not yet commissioned to positions influence, these young men must submit to the leadership under which they find themselves, and this can create cause for anxiety, to be sure. They've been gifted with certain visions and abilities and they fear they may never be fully reached if forcibly bound by another man's unsympathetic power.
I struggle with that fear myself, and therefore I'm not in a position to give much advice. But as we're asking these questions, let's not fall into the trap of believing that restrictions and structures are somehow unspiritual. The Bible won't let us go that route.