At Denver Institute’s 2018 Annual Celebration, we will welcome singer-songwriter Sandra McCracken, who will perform several songs from a recent album that is the first of its kind.
Work Songs, produced by the Porter’s Gate Worship Project, offers to the Church thirteen songs aimed at preparing us for and accompanying us through our daily work.
But does this really matter? Are these merely nice, creative gestures, something novel to add to our playlists? Or do they perhaps offer us something that we need, and need deeply?
One of the most common misconceptions about worship is that it is characterized by music and confined to the physical location of a church building. Although we may use the term “worship” to refer to the time in our church services in which we sing to the glory of God, the concept is far broader and much more essential to everyday life.
In his book Unceasing Worship, Harold Best defines worship as “the continuous outpouring of all that I am, all that I do and all that I can ever become in light of a chosen or choosing god” (18). It is critical to understand that it is perfectly possible for our worship to be given to idols.
The question is not if or when we worship, but rather whom we worship and how. Once we recognize that we are continuously outpouring worship in every moment and sphere of our lives, we can consider the meaningfulness of the shape our worship takes beyond the church walls.
Even for those of us who already grasp the concept that worship extends into all of life, we may still wonder why and how worship songs could be relevant to our work.
Worship and Work
Regardless of what work we put our hands to during the week, we have the opportunity—actually the command—to work unto the Lord (Col. 3:17).
Though worship is much more than music and singing, it is undeniably connected to these things. In fact, singing can be a powerful way to shape what we think and believe, and thus how we live.
Keith Getty, co-author of “In Christ Alone” and numerous other hymns, passionately emphasizes taking great care regarding what we sing, referring particularly to the content of songs. A pastor of mine often describes singing as “preaching to oneself.” It is important to consider: What songs are you singing on a daily basis? How may these be influencing your perspective towards life and, more specifically, your work?
Our work matters to God, and our work is something that—for most of us—takes up a tremendous amount of time during our week. Why not sing songs that will enrich, guide, deepen, even help to redeem our attitudes toward our work and the actions we take on the job?
The Porter’s Gate Worship Project’s album Work Songs provides language to guide us through each workweek.
For example, the songs “Little Things with Great Love“ and “Your Labor is Not in Vain” provide a sense of encouragement that the work of our hands is truly meaningful. “Have Mercy On Me” and “Establish the Work of Our Hands” remind us of our daily dependence upon the Lord.
This idea is not new. Paul’s admonition to the Colossians includes singing: “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts” (Col. 3:16).
Don’t miss the opportunity to hear some of these work songs live, performed by Sandra McCracken. Join us May 19th in a worshipful celebration of work and all God’s good gifts.
Jessica Schroeder is a contributor to the DIFW blog. She is a Master’s student of Theology at Denver Seminary and holds a B.S. in Theology with a concentration in Biblical Studies, which she earned alongside a minor in Worship Arts. Enthused by the statement “everything is theological,” she endeavors to live into this truth each day, as well as to write about it. Jessica also blogs for The Institute for Faith, Work and Economics and her own blog, Slowing to Wonder.