Sorry for being rather lame this past week. As usual, it wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to write about; I did and do. I just didn’t do it.
So, here are some delayed reflections about worship I’ve been milling over.
I went to a pretty powerful Third Day / David Crowder Band concert on Sunday (that’s two Sunday’s ago) with Otis. Enjoyed it a bunch. The only thing I kinda struggled with is that many people whom I was sitting in proximity with were there to take in a concert and be entertained, while I was there primarily to worship. I guess that’s to be expected; it was a concert after all. But I’ve become so addicted to worshiping the Lord that it’s pretty darn hard for me to turn down any opportunity. I mean, com’on… who wouldn’t want to engage in a worship exerience led by some of the best in the business?
So, I for sure engaged in some worship… even with people talking and playing Tetris on cell phones during songs like “Show Me Your Glory.”
On a related note, the chapter in Drawing Near I read in preparation for small group on Tuesday is all about true worship. And of course worship is really a lifestyle, not something that is done solely on Sunday mornings or at concerts or in the car. But there certainly is a time for expressive worship. We’re supposed to enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise, remember.
One of the things I love about David Crowder, as I shared with my friend Jen on the way back from church today, is that he stretches his audience with his worship leading. He does songs like Sing Like the Saved, Make a Joyful Noise/I Will Not Be Silent, Undignified, Our Love is Loud and others and makes sure to get the audience to abandon the hypocricy of singing something and not actually doing it.
That’s something I can’t stand… and have certainly done before… and fall into from time to time. But seriously… you think the Lord really wants to hear you “Sing Like the Saved” quietly or reverently? You’re supposed to sing LIKE YOU’RE SAVED! SAVED FROM ETERNAL DAMNATION AND INTO HIS GLORIOUS KINGDOM! That means something!
When Crowder started crunching out the chords for that song as his last at the concert, I thought to myself “Crap… now I have to get all uncomfortable. I’m not used to being overly-expressive in front of Otis.” Seriously… that’s what I thought :-/ But, I’m learning to set that stuff aside and just do what I know is in my heart to do. And it’s not to just stand there and sing along–especially when the song wraps up with “We’re going to dance like the saved!”
Or how about Undignified? “I will dance / I will sing / To be mad for my king / Nothing Lord is hindering this passion in my soul / I’ll become even more undignified than this / some may say it’s foolishness.” I guess an option would be to not sing it at all if you aren’t willing to actually be undignified. But what would the spirit be behind not singing? Seems to me it would be welling from a lot of selfishness and pride. We have to be willing to go all the way for the Lord. And believe me, I’m not where I need to be with this either. But I am pushing myself and allowing myself to be stretched.
One last thing that relates: I read a short article by Louie Giglio, the founder and leader of the Passion worship conferences and 268 Generation movement, in a recent CCM. It was awesome to read about the focus of the ministry remaining on establishing God’s renown. As I sometimes become critial of most-things-mainstream, it was great to read about something that is experiencing vast success and isn’t settling; it still seems to be all about the Lord. And that is refreshing.
Giglio wrapped up the article by sharing a story about a speach he gave to a couple thousand students in the ministry’s early years. As he was speaking about the focus of Passion–which is based on Isaiah 26:8 which says “your name and your renown are the desire of our hearts”–a girl stood up and started clapping all by herself. He remembered it being a rather awkward situation for the audience. Nobody knew what to do and nobody joined her. But it sure stuck in Giglio’s head; and I’m sure it stuck out to God.
Isn’t that exactly what we’re to do for the Lord… set aside all awkwardness and just give him glory, even if it’s just us and nobody else joins in? Are we willing to do that? Will we set ourselves out on a limb for him… exposed before all and completely vulnerable? Because that’s what He did for us: he surrendered it all, letting people beat him and strip him naked and then nail him to a cross. He was completely exposed, mocked, ridiculed, bruised and scorned for the stuff we’ve done. And we think we’re to be dignified, calm and reverent about it all…
I fought it Sunday at church. We were praying before the main service and a couple times I just wanted to burst out in praise and thanksgiving and just acknowledgement of God’s glory and I didn’t. I let some of it out, but certainly not all that was within me. Too awkward; I thought about it too much. And with me, the more I think about something that I’m not real comfortable doing, the less likely I am to do it. I need to just do things God is inviting me into.
And ask God questions about it later… or never.