My friend Chris worships with every thing that is in him. Legs spread apart, feet planted firmly on the ground, arms lifted high, face turned towards heaven, making a joyful noise, regardless of what others may think. Watching his face is like seeing a little bit of Heaven coming down. Pure Joy pours forth from his inner being, total awe, total surrender coming from his heart.
He wasn't always like this. He's rather a new believer actually. I think he accepted Christ as Lord of his life about 3 years ago. It's been absolutely wonderful to watch the changes take place in him since that time. He is a sponge, soaking up the word of God, asking questions, seeking for better understanding. He buys study guides and wants to be more familiar with the books of the bible so he can find them quickly and follow along with the pastor as he reads it on Sunday Mornings. Clean and Sober for 6 years now, Chris greets each day fully aware of the fact that THIS IS A NEW DAY. He always has a smile and a cheerful "Good Morning, And how are you today" greeting for each person he meets. His philosophy of life seems to personify that scripture that encourages us to "do everything as unto the Lord."
I love corporate worship. Being gathered together with like minded believers, our hearts all tuned to the Holy Spirit, giving all the praise, glory and honor to the One Who Sits on the Throne. Whether its on Sunday Morning in our places of Worship, or a Concert at the Fair or a Praise Gathering in the Park, it gives me goosebumps.... it overwhelms me to the point that some times I cannot sing. I just stand and listen to the sounds of the voices reverberating around me. I look around and see men and women, faces lifted, palms open, eager to give it over to God. I am both humbled and proud as I watch, listen, observe.
Singing has always been as closely linked to my worship life as writing. I worship best through singing. Talking often trips me up.... I fumble for the words when I am praying, or trying to describe my feelings. But give me pen and paper and I am able to extract words and phrases that explain and describe so much better than my tongue can. And when I run out of things to say, it is comforting and exhilarating to know I can use the words of someone like Michael W. Smith or Chris Tomlin, to praise God, connect with Him and feel him in ways I never can otherwise.
Last year in Dream School, we had a module on Worship and Joel the Worship Guy led us in some simple songs of worship. He encouraged us to try worshiping in a different way-- perhaps on our knees or even on our faces. I was surprised to find myself leaning against the wall, knees tucked under my chin, just listening. I am usually bouncing up and down on my toes, singing exuberantly, with all that is in me. But not that night. That night I was silent.
Lately I find myself doing this more and more. I really think the Holy Spirit told me that night to just listen. Rest in the moment of the worship around me, be aware and be thoughtfully engaged, without opening my mouth.
there's a mighty lesson in that.
When we worship, God want's our ALL. And I think sometimes I make it more about me and my voice and my actions, not totally loosing myself in worship but really being more caught up in the ACT OF worship.
Does that make sense?
And so it seems for right now, God is teaching me more about listening and feeling His Presence through the stillness of worship (be still and know that HE is GOD) than through the act of worship. Chris Tomlin wrapped up his concert Wed. night by singing a well known song written by Matt Redmond. It's been playing softly in my heart ever since and it's lyrics serve to remind me to do an attitude check on my act of worship every now and again....
I leave with these beautiful thought provoking words, from the song, "Heart of Worship"
When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that's of worth
That will bless your heart
I'll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You're looking into my heart
I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about You
It's all about You, Jesus
I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it
When it's all about You
It's all about You, Jesus
King of endless worth
No one could express
How much you deserve
Though I'm weak and poor
All I have is yours
Every single breath