Last week I made a list of the top ten things I want to make time for this coming year. Like most people, I usually do this around January 1st, but I was getting so frustrated with the way I was wasting my time, I figured it would be a good idea to start a little early. The first slot went to prayer and Bible reading and the second slot went to worship. I won’t bore you with my other priority activities, but you can probably guess what some of them were (family-time, exercise, etc.) The reason worship is so high on the list is because my identity as a worshiper is probably the most important thing about me – the part of me that stops staring at myself, looks up and says “Wow God, you’re awesome!”
God is so wonderfully mysterious, and mystery fuels our desire to worship. The little bit we already know about him makes our heads spin. We try to imagine someone who can literally speak the heavens and earth into existence. He says “Let there be light” and it appears. I like the way the Message Bible paraphrases Genesis 1:11: “God spoke: Earth, green up! Grow all varieties of seed-bearing plants, every sort of fruit-bearing tree. And there it was.” And who can forget his ultimate creation – breathing his spirit into a man made out of dust who becomes a living soul.
Like God, worship is also mysterious. Take, for example, the Sunday mornings when you’re singing that old music you practiced the night before and suddenly, it becomes transcendent. The air becomes heavy with love, and you feel like angels are dive-bombing the chancel behind you. Or how about when you hear music in your sleep that wakes you up to a powerful awareness of God. Here’s another mystery: a bunch of people who don’t always get along manage to come together to produce music that actually delights God.
How worship affects the believer is also interesting. I find it brings out the real me, not the imposter me. Whenever I tell God what I’m really thinking and feeling, I’m flooded with the reality of just how accepted I am. If I worship from that place, what floats up to God is real Cathy. Then it joins with the truth of who God is – a truth I can’t really comprehend but I can feel, and somehow I know that I have touched God’s heart.
Worship is an incredibly varied experience. Sometimes we do it by listening, sometimes by participating with others. Sometimes we generate songs we’ve never heard before, sometimes we join with the time honored hymns of ages past. Sometimes we worship with tears, sometimes with laughter, sometimes with words, sometimes just melodies. We can worship with nature, with friends, with strangers, with music, with art. One of my sons can actually worship with mathematical equations!
Worship can change the atmosphere in your car, your home, your church, your city, even your nation. It’s one of the most important, devil-stomping tools we have. Put it on your list of things to do daily and see how it changes your life. Then comment below and let me know how it goes!