Sometimes in the worship community, there can be a strong focus on musical excellence. Could you elaborate on that?
David Ruis: There must be a pairing between technical excellence and passion that happens. You can't, for the sake of passion, blow off technical excellence. But when technical excellence lacks passion something doesn’t resonate well.
Look at the great historical example of Mozart and his counterpart, Antonio Salieri, in the movie, Amadeus. I know it’s a bit Hollywood, but here you have Mozart. He had technical ability, but what brought him to impact the popular culture of his day was his passion. Salieri, who some historians say was technically superior to Mozart, was uptight, stressed, competitive, and was so consumed by technical excellence that his zest for life and passion didn't fill his music. Which one of these men do we know about today? We know about Mozart.
If we care about what God is looking for, He takes high value in it. In John 4, you’ve got Jesus and the woman at the well reflecting on worship. She's unlocking a longing in her life and a desire to meet with God. She’s confused about what she's been told. Her ancestors told her you go to the mountain. The Jews said to go to the temple. She’s wondering, “Where can I go to find God?” Christ answers, “A time is coming and is now here when you will worship the Father.” The Father is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Since God is spirit, those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
“Spirit and truth” refer to something a whole lot deeper than emotions and doctrine, to the deepest part of our being. That is why only those who've been touched by the blood of Christ can truly worship God, because outside of Christ, our spirit is dead. We’re dead in trespasses and sin. It's the Spirit of God that quickens us, makes us alive through the redemption of the blood of Christ. There was a whole part that was separate and cut off from God that is now awakened, and it from that place we worship.
Paul says, "I pray with my mind. I pray with my spirit. I sing with my mind. I sing with my spirit." The place of the spirit is a place of deep life and real passion but it's not esoteric spirituality, or mysticism. It's not theological knowledge or doctrinal purity. Christ is looking for honesty, and complete vulnerability, and that's where passion comes from. Passion is not just good for us; He’s actually looking for it.