We live in an age where Brexit and Trump have occurred in one year. It is a seemingly impossible situation and caused by ageing middle class whites who voted in exasperation at the muddled, ignorant and incompetent political classes, who were ill-informed of the feelings of their fellow men. The MPs were out of touch with reality; blind to the rising fury that seethed under the surface of apparent quietude and compliance.
Those who passed through the last great war, are now dying normally in their eighties and nineties, and their middle-aged children are recalling tales of the privation and hardship of their parents’ generation and realise the adversity they suffered, and perceive the deprivation that ensued. Now, they see the rich getting richer and poor getting poorer and immigration changing the nature and composition of society; many parts of the country is no longer English or in America – American. Enough is enough. Both Brexit and Trump are the result of protest voting. The seeds are now growing in many more countries. The last days are coming. Rebellion and anarchy are not too far distant. If Brexit is delayed or overthrown by political and judicial manipulation there could be riots in our beloved land.
This spirit has now entered the church in protest to modern worship, as the older people crave for hymns and songs with tunes they can sing. Many congregations now watch the platform party in a kind of vicarious worship before dimmed lights in the wider auditorium and spot lights on the platform, as the entertainment begins. Thankfully HICC has retained its policy of spiritual songs and hymns with vibrant tunes that all can sing. I had the privilege of preaching there on 6th November and I would say that 80/90% of the congregation were active in worship, in some churches I have been in, I would say that number is sadly reversed. About 10/20% were worshipping the rest watching the platform. I can well understand that latter number voting with their feet.
I have built my ministry on worship, from the time an attendee in my first pioneer church left after the morning service and, shaking hands with my first wife said, “I thought the organ was particularly beautiful today,” to which my wife agreed, but then realised we didn’t have an organ. God’s angels had come down to play for us! I perceived then that worship is not for God, but for us, for He existed before man was created and he could well do without us. Worship is a transforming process; we are being changed imperceptibly from glory to glory daily as we wait on and love God in adoration. Prayer is the articulation of human need, praise the acclamation of divine deeds and worship the adoration of divine worth. They mingle and hold together. Someone said: We have become so desensitised by the brutality of life, that we have lost the wonder of worship. So very sad.
“A self-conscious holiness is a contradiction in terms,” (Washington Gladden) for true worship eyes but God. I never think of holiness, I just walk with God, He can convict me any time He wishes, and I’ll just exalt His matchless name. It was J. C. Ryle who said: “The best public worship is that which produces the best private Christianity.” But, for many people it is metamorphosis verses masquerade – you cannot form a butterfly by pinning wings on a worm. True worship will change us, it deals with private motives and physical urges. Nevertheless, praise and worship supplies energy or power to life, it is like being connected to the national grid, internally.
After one beautiful time of worship in Kensington Temple, where I was the associate minister, something happened that inspired me, and I have never forgotten it. There was a violent storm and the roof, being pitched at 50 degrees shed the water so fast the gutters could not contain it and it not only overflowed them but also dripped inside and fell on the congregation in microscopic particles pervading everywhere and the internal lights illuminated it as a yellow mist – like glorious light, and God whispered to me “I have put my glory here.” That’s the result of true worship; heaven awaits our presence, our hearts long for such an atmosphere. I think the problem with some modern worship is that the platform party love their ministry more than the congregation.