Different churches worship God in lots of different ways. Some Churches worship through liturgy, reading aloud every Sunday from the beautifully worded prose of Thomas Cranmer. Others worship with exuberant, driving praise music – slick, professional musicians, excellent singers. Lots of expensive suits. Other churches, full of faithful elderly people, worship God the same way each Sunday as they have for fifty years. God loves it all.
Some Reflections on Worship
One of the pictures that Jesus often used for heaven was the party. God’s party. No destructive activities. But lots of fun. His enemies used to call him a drunk and a glutton because he was always going to parties.
We tend to think that being a Christian means you can’t have any fun. The fact is, having fun is good for us. Fun and laughter are among the things that God uses to heal the hurts in our lives. I think when we grow up we forget how to have fun. The cares of this life overtake us and somehow the fun gets squeezed out.
What Jesus tried to show his listeners is that God’s party has already started. It’s okay to enjoy ourselves while we walk with him and learn to hear and obey his voice.
Worship is not about singing or dancing or raising your hands. Worship is about the freedom to respond appropriately to whatever God is doing in your life. Worship is love, freely given to God. I believe that you have come to maturity in your personal worship when you are free to respond in the most appropriate way to whatever God is doing.
When we gather together at different times, God does various things with us, as His people. Let’s think about three things:
In Celebration – There are times in our lives when God has really come through for us. We have seen him bring healing or deliverance. He has done something that makes it really obvious that he is the only true and living God. We celebrate what God has done.
In celebration, we might dance and sing, clap and shout, jump around. Celebrative worship is like a footy game when your team is winning.
In Intimacy –Intimate worship is about telling God that we love him – expressing our passion and heart desire for him. In intimate worship, we may sit quietly or bow down or even lie prostrate on the floor. We might weep or feel peaceful or still.
In Repentance – Repentance is where we turn away from our self-centredness and towards a holy God so that he becomes the centre. We may bow down or stretch out our hands to God. We may cry out to the Lord. Often, tears accompany our repentance. Our hearts are broken. Then gratitude and joy follow the tears, as we grasp the depth or God’s kindness and grace towards us.
In a Guinness Ad a few years back, the beer drinker said, “I’m dancing on the inside.” If I watch you worship, will I be able to tell the difference between intimacy, repentance or celebration? Or will it all look the same.
Are you more concerned about what others might think if you let the passion come to the surface, or what Jesus thinks. Do you feel passionate about Jesus? How will I know? If our hearts are free from the fear of man, we can express fully whatever is going on in worship. We can respond wholeheartedly to whatever God is doing.