Posts Tagged ‘worship’

One Presence

My daughter is 2 years old.  We are entering the “Terrific Twos”.  It’s a time when she is learning independence, separation, individuality.  If she wasn’t a little obstinate and fickle, I’d be worried.  I call it terrific and not terrible, not because she is compliant (she’s as strong willed as her mommy and daddy), I call them terrific because she is becoming.  She is learning what she likes.  She is observing and processing and imitating.  She is using her imagination to turn balloons into kites, shoes into boats, daddy into a trampoline. She is using her vocabulary to declare that “yes I can”.  What I love about this age is the honesty and the vision.  To have the eyes of a child.

Sydney’s room and the guest room are across the hall from each other.  Sometimes she likes to sleep in her bed, sometimes the guest bed.  Sometimes both in one night.  Each night I ask her, which bed she would like to sleep in tonight.  Her answer, every time, “Snuggle My Mommy!”  With all her preferences of which stuffed animal lines up where, what books to read, what music to put on, her focus of bedtime is always Mommy.  How did you sleep?  I snuggled Mommy.  When she wakes up; where is Mommy?  She adores her Mommy.  Colors are brighter when Mommy is home.  Food taste better when Mommy is home.  If we want Israel and Pakistan to get along… send in Mommy.  It’s not an unhealthy obsession.  She does not weep and gnash teeth in her absence or on her leaving.  Sydney, with extraordinary simplicity, loves her Mommy.

To have that devotion to God, what a life we might live.

A friend of mine and fellow blogger, J.D. Walt, blogs often on worship.  Recently he had a great statement that has quite honestly wrecked me.  Here is his closing paragraph.

Are we designing worship services to cultivate our deepest desire, or are we stringing songs together in a way that fosters  ”sentimental” feelings toward  God. I hear far more talk about “great” worship than I do about a “great” God. Again, are we designing worship to cultivate and aim the deepest desires of the human heart or are we settling for services designed to enhance our life, strengthen our commitment, or worse, control our behavior in Jesus name?  (full blog here.)

He says, “I hear far more talk about “great” worship than I do about a “great” God.”  When we go home after worshipping God together, what are we focused on?  For that matter, what are we focused on as head off to church?  What are we bringing into church?  What do we expect to happen?  How do we find ourselves declaring the greatness of God above our delight of a “great” worship service?

The Gospel according to Sydney, if you will, finds the answer in our focus.  Sydney, finds delight and wonder beyond the toys, beyond the choice of bed.  She can find delight in an uncooked piece of spaghetti, if she is in the presence of Mommy. “How did you sleep last night Sydney?” “Mommy!”  How was worship today? God is Great!

Ephesians really highlights the stewardship of our life focus.  Ephesians 4 highlights the crucial importance of the oneness of our calling in Christ.  “There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

In Christ we are One, united together through the Holy Spirit who graces us with many gifts that we might use those gifts to equip one another so that we might be built up into the full image of Christ.  The singular focus is on Christ Jesus our Lord.  Our transformation will only come through our ability to surrender to his grace, submit to one another and worship as one with the hope of being united in Christ.  The worship is not limited to a service on Sunday morning, but in every aspect of our lives.  Our Sunday corporate worship is a culmination of us declaring together, “yes, i lived this week because I see you Jesus” or, “I died this week because I lost your face in the crowd of my self focus, but I see you now Jesus”.  But to do this takes humility.  We must step away from our preference and delight in His Presence.

But it takes something else as well.  Worshipping to the point where we say “What a great God” means we must worship together as participants.  The unity of the body in Christ is not unanimously nodding amen to the pastor and relying solely on a few people to lead worship.  Nor is it the pastor designing every moment of corporate worship.  Worshipping as one body to the point of seeing a Great God requires the work and testimony of the church seen and heard.

On Sunday I will share what this can look like and I hope together we can equip one another to grow in Christ.  May we find ourselves like little Sydney, delighting not in the quality of the game, location, or toy, but in the quality of Presence.  May we look and see how God is present in our life today that we might declare his Greatness together on Sunday, together.



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