Let's consider some other items.
Temple & Alter. Do you need them for worship? Certainly the Pharisees of Jesus day would have claimed as much. In fact, the common belief of the day was that worship had to happen in Jerusalem because that was where the temple stood (John 4:21).
Let's do one more...
Air-Conditioning & Padded Seats. Do you need them for worship? Intellectually, most of you would say no. (There are probably a couple who would say yes. Thanks for your honesty.) But when it comes down to it, would you make a church your home if there was no air-conditioning and no padded seats?
Here in Pennsylvania our winters are bitterly cold and the summers are blisteringly hot. Would all the people in our church have chosen it as their church home if the building was 95F in the summer and 35F in the winter? What if there were only hard wooden benches with splinters?
Sadly, I believe they would not. And for you church goers, I'd say the same for most of the people in most of your churches. Shocking, I know. But true.
Let's get back to South Africa for a moment. You see, the Xhosa people there traditionally sang their cultural songs with drums. As a result, most believe they cannot and should not worship God without a drum. They also believe they cannot and should not worship without candles. They believe there is a reference of candles in Revelation which prompts them to necessitate having candles in their worship. Why? Because they don't understand the reference. They don't understand God's Word fully enough.
And our churches here in the USA are the same way.
For some it is the drum. (Not that we must have it but that we should never have it.) For some it might actually be candles. But for far more it is about the building. It is about the air-conditioning. It is about the padded seats. And to go deeper... it is about the style of the teaching. It is about the style of the music. It is about whether the lady that always sits near their chair, the one they have sat on for 30 years, wears too much perfume.
Let's. Get. Real. You don't need any of that to worship. All you need is spirit and truth (John 4:24). If you think you need anything else, then you do not understand God's Word fully enough. It makes no difference what we have around us. What makes a difference is what is in us. A heart. A spirit. Of truth. Set on one purpose. Glorifying him.
For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him (Colossians 1:16).
God says bring to me all the people who are mine, whom I made for my glory, whom I formed and made (Isaiah 43:7).
How amazing it was for me, a worship pastor, to have questions about drums and candles posed to me 8,000 miles away from home. Why? Because of what they were asking. It was a question about preferences! "I want this in my worship. He does not." How incredible. I travel 8,000 miles and I'm dealing with the same issue there as I do here at home! "I don't like that song." "That guy keeps lifting his arms in front of me while he's singing." I thank God that his Word is the same there and here too!
And God's Word says its not about what you need in worship. It's about Him! And what He wants in worship.
He wants our real selves. Spirit = ourselves. Truth = real. That's it.
And for those of us who like all our fancy seats and cushy air conditioning and pricey technology (myself included), I say this... think of people like I met and taught in South Africa who have next to nothing. Yet they worship with abandon. Free. Joyous.
Even in a 90F building and splinters-in-your-butt seats.
worship Him 24/7...
Pictures of a few teaching locations from my experiences in South Africa.