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二○一九年六月八日/六月九日                                                                                                Click here for English version

崇拜不同於娛樂

陳小宛牧師

「好沉悶啊!」這是我經常聽到主日學的孩子所說的話。他們這樣說過後,通常都會要求老師改唱另一些歌曲,或進行另一些活動等。他們感覺沉悶,是因為他們得不到自己想要的東西。

「好沉悶啊!」我們是否也說過同樣的話,或有同樣的想法呢?我不時聽到一些弟兄姊妹這樣評價教會的崇拜,甚至因為這緣故而不參加某些教會的崇拜。

最近我看到一則新聞,指出現在好些學前兒童已懂得上網和使用電子屏幕產品。在其中一個畫面中,一名小女孩不停地哭鬧,不肯安靜坐下,於是她母親便把平版電腦給了她,之後,女孩即時靜下來,雙眼一直盯住電腦屏幕,她的興趣和注意力完全被屏幕上的影像吸引住。

同樣,我們也常會被一些電子產品屏幕或戲院銀幕所吸引,因為其中的影像能對我們的大腦和感官帶來刺激和快感。這就是娛樂的威力。

當我們說崇拜「沉悶」,其實意味著我們可以用電視節目、電影、流行音樂、和其他娛樂的準則去評價崇拜。倘若我們真的這樣想,那就不明白崇拜的意義了。

在一般娛樂節目中,我們只是觀賞別人表演、等待別人提供快感的觀眾,是被動的;但在崇拜中,我們卻是主動的參與者。「敬拜」的希伯來字義是「俯伏」,在崇拜中,神是我們敬拜的對象,我們會為著祂的身分、祂所行的事而伏拜祂面前,而我們的惟一目的就是要榮耀祂。敬拜並不是要為給我們自己帶來滿足感(儘管那是常有的敬拜結果);相反,我們倒要盡心盡意地主動向神獻上祂配得的感謝、讚美和尊崇。

現今有一個趨勢,就是愛以音樂來品評崇拜。曾有人說,很羨慕英崇的弟兄姊妹,因為他們能藉著鼓和結他等樂器來提升氣氛和會眾的熱情(或許還提升娛樂性?)。然而,根據我的觀察和經驗,不論我們唱現代詩歌、採用現代樂器,或是唱傳統聖詩、採用風琴,都不一定能轉化我們的生命、叫我們更像主耶穌。最重要的決定因素,卻在於敬拜者自己——我為甚麼前來崇拜,以及如何崇拜?教會需要謙卑地尋求聖靈的指引,好使崇拜更新;同樣,北宣家每一位弟兄姊妹也需尋求聖靈的幫助,成為天父所喜悅的真正敬拜者——用心靈和誠實敬拜神(約四 23-24)。

願我們的敬拜蒙神悅納,成為馨香的祭!






Pastor's Sharing
Worship Services are Not Entertainment
Rev Stera Chan


"It is boring!" It is often what I hear from children while checking out Sunday School classes. Almost every time after saying it, the children will demand the teachers to, for example, choose another song or do another activity. The feeling of boredom sinks in because they are not getting what they want.

"It is boring!" Don't we often say or think the same? It is also what I hear from people sometimes when they comment on worship services or explain why they do not attend a particular worship service.

Recently, I watched a news report on TV about the use of the Internet and electronic screen products by preschool children. In one of the scenes, a girl kept crying and could not sit still, so the mother gave her an electronic tablet. Immediately, the girl became silent and her eyes were fixed on the screen. What was shown on the screen had captured her full interest and attention.

We are also attracted to the screens on our gadgets or in the theatre because they stimulate our brains and senses to give us amusement. That is the power of entertainment.

However, worship services are not entertainment. To say that worship services are "boring" implies that we can evaluate them in the same way we appraise TV shows, movies, music, and other forms of entertainment. To do so means we do not understand what worship services are all about.

In entertainment, we are passive spectators, watching others playing for us and waiting to be provided with pleasure. However, we are active participants in worship services. The root meaning of the Hebrew word for "worship" is "to prostrate." In worship, it is always God we are worshiping. We bow down before Him for who He is and what He has done, and our only goal is to glorify Him. Worship is not for our satisfaction (though that is often a result of our worship). Rather, with all our hearts and minds we are to actively give God all the thanks, praises and worship that are due to Him.

There is an increasing trend of "evaluating" a worship service based on music. Sometimes I hear comments about how good it is that our English Worship Service can use musical instruments such as drums and guitars, as it is more uplifting and enthusing (perhaps entertaining as well?). Yet, my observations and experiences tell that singing contemporary songs and using more kinds of musical instruments does not necessarily mean lives transformed to be more like our Lord Jesus – the same case for singing traditional hymns and using the organ. What matters is the worshiper – why and how s/he comes to the worship service.

While the church needs to humbly seek the Holy Spirit's guidance for worship renewal, each member in the NPAC family also needs His help to be a true worshiper the Father seeks – to worship in the Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).

May our worship services be pleasing and fragrant sacrifices to God!