Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tone Deaf, dressed to a T, and Out of Place…

Worship is tough isn’t it? Have you ever just looked around at the Sunday morning gathering we call church and watch people during praise and worship time? I do. Each and every Sunday I long for, I yearn for a time to get lost in worship, but soon crash into reality to find myself in a huge room full of nicely dressed people out of tune. I am in Bible college, I helped start a church, I have a gift for teaching, and am naturally very passionate and opinionated. It is easy for me to get into theological discussions or make exegetical arguments on certain Biblical texts. It’s easy for me to stand in front of a crowd of people and teach them truths I have been taught form within the Scripture. It’s easy to write a check for offering (although not recently, that will be another blog on tithing and offering soon) or volunteer for service. If all these other good Christian things are so easy, what makes worship so hard?

Let’s take a look at what we are good at first. Offering, tithing, serving, teaching, going to school, having intelligent discussions, and all kind of other bible study things. Within each of these are one common thread. That thread is black. This thread is black because the color is beautiful if used correctly, but can kill a piece of art or clothing if it consist of nothing else but the thread. This thread is the simple fact that we have something to offer, we can actually have a part in it, it is something we can hold or touch, it’s tangible. I can teach because I have knowledge that I have obtained through Bible college and other Bible studying times or tools. I can give because I work hard for my money. I can serve because I make time in my schedule. The idea in all these is it has something to do with me. That feels good right? As long as I can be a part of it, then cool beans. Well, why is worship hard then, don’t we offer something, aren’t we a big part of it?

Not entirely. Worship unlike every other aspect of the Christian religious lifestyle requires us to fully surrender ourselves and have nothing to offer of worth. Outside of it being difficult to focus in general the problem we have with worship is that it requires submission on our part. We have nothing to offer God that could ever pay Him back or even come close to even showing Him the much deserved appreciation we owe Him. So here I stand in this big auditorium, music blaring, lights going here and there, thinking, God please accept me, I’m so useless and utterly worthless and here I stand in front of a Holy and perfect God expecting Him to accept this…What’s hard about worship is that it requires us to reflect on how we have nothing to offer. It makes us realize that the relationship between God and man is completely lopsided. That makes us uncomfortable doesn’t it?

Last Sunday was an exception to what I normally experience and what I truly long for in worship. I closed my eyes and lifted the palms of my hands up as an affirmation of my need. I told God in my heart I was worthless, nothing, undeserving to stand before Him, but knew He accepted me because of my faith in Jesus Christ and I simply worshipped Him. I didn’t care about how I sounded, what I was wearing, what the person next to me smelled like or what the next song would be. There for a brief moment in time, I stood before God stripped of all the self righteousness I clothe myself with all too often, standing there with my dirtiness exposed, my sin in full view, totally broken, trusting God to accept what shouldn’t be accepted. That’s uncomfortable and that’s what is so hard about worship to me.

What’s difficult for you? May you learn to worship God, learn to yearn for this time.

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