Friday, March 4, 2016

Is Church Healthy?

I often tell people that our goal is to "Continue the work of the Great Physician". We have written often here about the potential power of worship and church attendance. However, it may be more precise to focus on the power of worship, prayer and meditation when alone or in a group.

Dr. Andrew Newburg, an MD Neuroscientist, has written about this in several books and one it titled "How God Changes Your Brain". In it, Dr. Newburg tells about studies of how the practice of prayer, worship and meditation actually causes the brain to change.

In a recent newsletter from Dr. David Mee-Lee, an expert on recovery from drugs and alcohol, a guest writer tells how she and others are using music to rewire the brains of addicts that have been damaged.

These studies can be of great encouragement to all Christians because our faith is a singing religion! However, allow me to suggest that, although all good music can be therapeutic, participatory worship is the most powerful. Second, it is best to promote music that comes from the depths of the heart and mind not just high praise that is emotional but fails to touch the deep heart.

When I first got involved in the Jesus Movement in the 60's and 70's we gathered in homes and churches and sat in a circle singing new songs. One of our favorites was "Hallelujah!" which allowed us to harmonize around simple phrases and rest in the warm comfort of the Lord. That, and other choruses, were rewiring our damaged brains and filling our hearts and minds with hope and healing.

There was no loud instruments or loud voices leading but a relaxed and peaceful focus on the Lord.  I miss those days when UC students messed up on dope were coming to faith in Christ and gathering in our home to be discipled by the love and power of God in worship.

If you want to impact worshippers, reduce the up front domination by musicians and bring the people to the feet of the cross.

Good music builds the mind.

Great worship heals the soul, body and spirit.


Gary Sweeten

No comments: