Leading worship yesterday I took a risk. I know the idea was from God. The text for the sermon was Ephesians 5:19-20, "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks..."
So we gave the congregation a chance to sing and make music in their hearts - with a period of silence.
I was worried about this, because people (particularly small children) don't always understand stuff like this, and it is easy to have the experiment ruined - without malice, of course - by people who don't catch on. Also, you never know if the people are in the mood for a new thing when they come to church. We are creatures of habit, right? This was only a small, secondary concern, because our church is particularly open to the worship team's ... uh ... eccentricities. HA! So I prayed and left it up to the Lord.
So, we came to the moment, and there was a Holy Silence. It was awesome - in the best sense of that much overused word. And then, we started playing How Great Thou Art - no singing, just an instrumental. It was so sweet - thank you Lord!!
We so often think of worship as singing songs. But it is so much more.