Excellence in Worship?
That said, where in the world did we get the idea that we can give God "excellence" in worship?
Is a more talented church giving "more excellent" worship than a less talented one? I don't really think the advocates of excellence in worship intend to promote that idea.
But it’s hard to escape the subtle intrusion of pride and performance into the excellence-in-worship philosophy. Elaborate audio equipment, hiring the best musicians available, and dazzling video productions don’t seem to express the same category of love-leading-to-extravagance as towering spirals or vaulted ceilings. To be sure, I know I am certainly impressed with technology, musical talent, and hearing a truly gifted preacher at his best.
But, wouldn't there be value in reminding ourselves God is surrounded by the glorious choruses of angelic hosts, the thunderous antiphon of Tri-Holies, and the praises of the redeemed? In that context, our best isn’t remotely excellent. Our worship is the artistic equivalent of filthy rags cast before a golden throne. The discord between our contradictory lives and our glorious words carries with it a dissonance that must sound atrocious as it mixes with the magnificent worship surrounding the Ancient of Days. We do not, indeed we cannot, give excellence to God. All our worship comes to heaven, where it carries our deficiency into the presence of the perfection.
I do not wish for a thousand tongues to sing His praise as much as I wish for only one that would be worthy of His Glory. Alas, all I can give is my imperfect worship joined together with the imperfection of others. Amplified multiplied imperfection.
Still, because of grace, I'd like to imagine, as our out-of-tune melodies encroach on the worship of angels, that God sometimes leans over to Gabriel and says, "Did you hear that? That's what I call beautiful." Maybe Gabriel just shakes his head in confusion. But then, what do angels really know about grace?