full life worship

Ferndale Historical Cemetary

A while back a dear friend of mine asked me several questions in an email. She asked me to define worship, and asked how I maintain a lifestyle of worship in the midst of a busy life. She also asked if worship becomes repetitious (I lead music at 3 services per weekend), and if it’s hard to worship intimately when you’re in the spotlight.

All excellent questions.

To me worship is much more than singing. I was raised in a church going family and when people said worship they meant “praise and worship music”. There’s nothing wrong with praise and worship music but if that is your definition of worship you are missing out on so much. I believe that anything that points to God, anything that draws our attention to God and inspires us to think of God, or to pray to God is causing us to worship. So, if I’m out walking around Spring Lake and I’m in awe of the beauty I am surrounded by I can thank God for His creation and worship Him in that moment. If I’m in a museum or an art gallery and I’m seeing some amazing creative art I can thank God for making us in His image and giving us the ability to be creative as He is. If I’m reading a good book and it is challenging me, and making me think new thoughts I can thank God that He gave us intellect and free will.

I don’t really have a set “devotional time”, but I’m always looking for God’s touch throughout the day. This is a vital part of what I call “full life worship”. Full life worship is all about perspective. It’s all about looking for little glimpses of God in everyday life. For example, I do a lot of driving for my work and the route that I take goes through Sonoma and Marin counties with breathtaking views of mountains and vineyards. It’s an amazing drive. I’ve always known it was beautiful but one day my perspective changed. It went from “wow this is beautiful”, to “thank You God for the beauty of Your creation”. It has transformed my travel time into a worship experience.

In this way I can worship in my everyday life and this helps keep the “musical worship” on the weekend from becoming repetitious and boring. Truth is, sometimes I don’t feel like leading musical worship on the weekend. Sometimes I’ve had a crappy day, or a crappy week and the last thing I want to do is put on a fake smile and lead people (most of whom look like they’ve had a crappy week too) in worship. However, I believe firmly that I am doing what I was made to do, and sometimes it is a sacrifice of praise. Sacrifice means it costs something. Sacrifice means even if I don’t feel like it.

Worship should never be based on our feelings. If we only worship when we feel like it than the object of our worship has become ourselves. The Bible calls this “will worship”.

I really do love musical worship so I love to sing, even if it’s the third time I’ve sang this song in any given weekend, so the spotlight thing isn’t a problem for me. The only time I don’t like being up in front is when I screw something up. Because everyone notices! I still get nervous before I step on stage but as soon as I take that first deep breath and belt out the first note it just all comes into focus. I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. There’s a famous quote in the movie Chariots of Fire that says, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.”

For me, when I sing, I feel God’s pleasure.

1 comment:

Benoni said...

Interesting comment on the topic of "Worship". It is very common amongst modern evangelical circles to subject worship to tambourine tappin, guitar strumming, drum beating, praise music. I would have to disagree with that outlook. Worship, primarily needs to have some form of preparation...it takes thought, consideration. Rather, consequently, cultural relativism has emerged with the whole notion of "feeling" or "intuition" which in turn defines or justifies the “right” in one's act. Therefore the act of worship is only defined by one's feelings, rather than one's knowing.

“Chariots of Fire” is based on the story of Eric Liddell, a Scottish Presbyterian who died in the mission field. He was a Calvinist and also a confessional Christian (such as I, minus the Scottish part). Within the Presbyterian church (viz. conservative Presbyterians) there is a confession of faith known as the Westminster Confession of Faith, which is accompanied with a larger & shorter catechism. The first Q&A within the shorter catechism is
Q: What is the chief end of man?
A: Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

This is Eric Liddell’s theological learning. This is why he states that " When I run, I feel God's pleasure" It is because he understands and knows that whatever he is doing, is do to God’s good pleasure. His “worship” is knowing that he is Coram Deo (before the face of God) and that all things are to be subjected to glorifying God and to enjoy His Graces forever.