Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Heeby Jeeby Worship

The atmosphere was electric. The people glued to the stage. Music was blaring as loud as you can possibly handle and goosebumps/gooseflesh (which one is it actually) could be seen on any participant down the aisle. I sat there in awe, tears flowing from my eyes. Never had I experienced such joy, such elation, such beauty. All around people were crying out, screaming at the top of their lungs, singing the praises! My friends came and greeted me with a hug, we shared thoughts of joy, thoughts of praise. Then I looked up at the TV and there was the ceremony for the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. What a beautiful night!

So, if you are a Christian you probably were thinking I was referring to some type of amazing worship experience. In fact many of the emotions that I had that night were awfully familiar as the "best times in worship" I've ever had. Some people would make you feel guilty for this. I remember a "brother" in Christ coming up to me during worship and "rebuking" me for not expressing myself like I did when the Sox won it all. I turned to this "brother" and stated that when he became Jesus then he could talk. He didn't like that to much and honestly I wasn't being to much like Jesus myself. But there was something in both of our stupid comments.

The tendency in worship is to gauge "success" (think about that for a second) on the amount of "feelings" that are stirred and the natural outworking of those feelings in some type of spontaneous bodily reaction. While there should be no doubt that outward expressions of worship are a natural outworking they should not be the identification mark of worship. They should not be the gauge of success!

We view worship as successful if we stir up "emotions" that others can observe but shouldn't worship be successful every time because it is God who is being praised not us. Undoubtedly there are times when it is harder but I wonder how many times the reason it is harder is because we are addicted to the FEELINGS of worship and not the God we are worshiping? Do we then make worship more about how I feel? Is that what it is about?

Finally, I find it interesting that God states that if we don't worship Him then the stones will. Stones don't have a personality and they do not have the latest Christian "rock" band (pun intended) leading worship but just by being stones they worship. Maybe then those feelings when the Sox won it all were not so as unholy as I was made to feel? God was the one who created the emotions and God is the one who gave me the ability to feel joy, excitement, etc. If by utilizing those feelings...if by me just being me...are expressions of what God made me then maybe it was a form of worship. Maybe there are a lot of things that are worship and I'm just to hard headed to realize it? Funny, the stones gets it! We don't? Irony?


"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14