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“One of the most common comments we hear about alt.worship is ‘I just don’t feel like I am worshipping.’ I can certainly relate to this. The ‘experience’ of alt.worship is very different from that of a hour-hour sing-a-long with a band. There isn’t necessarily the emotional high, gained ripping through loud praise songs into gentle ‘intimate’ worship numbers. My problem is that when questioned about what they classify as ‘a good time of worship’, people usually respond with comments about what they got out of it: hearing from God, a sense of peace etc.. But it seems to me that this is rather like judging someone’s birthday party by the quality of present the guests received. Worship is about giving something to God: presenting the best that we can as an offering. It is not about what I can get out of it. Coming to a service with an attitude of ‘what can I give to God’ profoundly changes the whole experience. I am free to enjoy the other things that people have created for the service and be thankful that they have taken the time to prepare something, rather than worrying that I am not in rapture. And anything I do ‘get back’ is just an added bonus - a real moment of grace. Often at Vaux we do not know until it happens in the service exactly what someone else has prepared. And this is an amazingly humbling time: here is someone who has taken time to create something that really means something to them as a person, that they have gegenuinely invested themselves in. This is not a song that someone else has written and that I have sung every week for the past year as it is on the worship leaders ‘hits’ rota. This is someone bringing a sacrifice and leaving it as an offering to God. It is often an awesome moment. ‘It is more blessed to give than receive’ - but we forget that all too easily in our consumer-orientated culture. We demand returns on our payment of time… Have we forgotten completely how to give gifts? How to give with no expectation of return? It is often out of a busy, time-conscious, economy driven, ungenerous heart that the inability to worship by giving comes. Can’t worship? A word of advice: try giving. “