For the longest time I have failed to understand why I bear a certain aversion towards Praise and Worship.
Each time I was made to sit through one, where all around me sang in such exultant voices, I withdrew quietly into my own thoughts. Of course I would try to sing along, try to spark some spiritual exuberance, but I would soon realize that it worked to no effect – it was merely my mouth that moved, and not my spirit.
More worrying still, was how I sometimes became frightened at the scene of it all. I saw people so deeply immersed in the singing that I could not help but to wonder if they had unknowingly sunken into a trance, and in that trance lost sight of who sits upon the pedestal. I also began to realize how vulnerable we can become when in a trance. And this weakness is exactly that which cunning, deviant cults are able to exploit. In that lucidity, I thence feared an erosion of my belief in the veracity of the Catholic church.
But just yesterday, the participants from the School of Witness came to perform for us, as well as share their testimonies. Naturally, I was reluctant to go. I had expected another p&w session; another session of steeling my mind against the assault of dangerous ratiocination. But this time it was different. They performed for us a sort of rap-song, and had everyone clapped along. And though the lyrics were not much different from those in the p&w songs, I wasn’t at all bothered. Nor was I bothered by the fervor that surrounded me. In fact, I clapped joyfully along.
I thus began to understand why. The rap-song was something fresh. It wasn’t the usual, humdrum singing. I saw change, and change somehow meant to me genuineness. They weren’t blindly following a religion, but rather, followed truly a God.
P&w disquiets me because I keep seeing the same words repeated over and over again, and I can find no sincerity in them, just as one can none in a politician’s overly-conspicuous cry to end poverty. It is like reading a personal letter that contains not one sentence of a personal touch, but is filled to the brim with conventional tones and blatant cliches. (Though this might as well be an assault on prayer, I believe prayer is a different matter entirely).
This is why I shall always bear an aversion towards p&w – I simply am not able to gather eagerness from a repetition of all things trite, of praises that employ from a pool of commonplace phrases, of words that have lost their meanings to familiarity.