Home Discussion Forums Worship/Worship Leading Transcendence and Immanence – Generational Differences in Worship

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    Matt Dabbs
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    We have two worship leaders at Northwest. One is more in tune with the older songs and the other is more in tune with the newer songs. One thing that has struck me about it over time is that the older songs talk a lot about God as transcendent, distant or “other” than us. Which, of course is true. God is big. God is amazing. And so these songs talk about all sorts of things in nature that remind us how big the world is as is the God who made it all. Songs like “How Great Thou Art” talk about the the grandeur of creation and how enormous creation and the creator are. We are reminded that God is transcendent and seemingly distant. We need to hear that and be reminded of those things at times.

    The newer songs have a different emphasis. Many of them emphasize the immanence of God. In other words, they talk about just how near God is to us. Songs like “Draw me close to you” talk about wanting to be as near to God as possible. Younger generations tend to emphasize the nearness or closeness of God. We need to hear that because it is true as well.

    Both aspects of God are true. My opinion is that worship needs balance where we don’t do one of those to the exclusion of the other. We need to hold God’s transcendence and God’s immanence in tension with each other to better appreciate the God we worship.

    Have any of you worked though any of this or tried to reflect that balance in a worship service?

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