I see a worshiper fall into that eternal space between worlds. As she sings her voice trembles over the notes that her powerful vocal chords effortlessly blew through moments ago. But now, her emotions no longer control her. She has passed through that threshold between worshiping to God and worshiping at God. She invited God’s presence and it consumed her. Hands shaking, mouth quivering, the song continues with new strength and yet with more humble awareness.
Someone gets up from their seat and walks across the auditorium. They want to pray for someone. That person is just over there, so their feet follow their convictions. Uncomfortable, inconvenient, distracting? No, those thoughts never enter his mind. He wants to pray, so he goes and prays. Tapping his friend on the shoulder mere words are spoken before an embrace occurs followed by broken, heartfelt, emotional prayer. Deep prayer. Honest. Cleansing. Godly prayer.
Three families gather around rows of chairs to take communion together. The layout of the building isn’t consistent with what they are wanting to do, but chairs get moved, people step out of the way, and compromise gets them all huddled together to sample a meal of eternal proportions together. Each one bows, prays, and honors their fallen and risen King.
This is the church. Family. We chose each other when we chose God. Now we live life together. We pray together. We confess to each other. We support each other. We are Christ to each other. We strengthen and encourage. And then we go into the world sharing the amazing love of God to all humanity. The pharisees followed rules and policies. I’ve been to many churches that structured 3 songs, a prayer, a sermon, etc. Jesus seemingly did the opposite.
Not that structure is wrong, but He seemed to always find Himself opposing the religious elite. It wasn’t about the temple, it wasn’t about their status, it wasn’t about their order and structure… and they were deeply offended. But He kept on. Washing the feet of a woman, eating with the sinners, healing on the sabbath, speaking against human created traditions. He didn’t have time for customs, He had a world to save. And while the power comes from Him, He passed that torch on to us. “Go into the world…”.
And I can’t help but wonder, what does God think of this? It’s for Him. His commands followed. His will sought. His name praised. We know He doesn’t puff up or get ego issues. Will this act receive the “well done, my good and faithful servant” we all long to hear? Will He cry? Will He well up with Fatherly pride? I can’t say for sure because those are our actions. Those are the things sinners do when we share in a glimpse of something good and right. But what does an almighty and Holy God do when He is worshiped?
Let me offer something that might not sound right at first. We are who we worship. And by that, I don’t mean we are part of the trinity God-head. I’m not elevating us to equality. But in a different way, we do tend to become like those we cherish. Have you ever noticed you talk like your idols? Does your accent change when you spend a few years in a new region? You’ve certainly heard the phrase, “you are what you eat”? And just like that phrase, I’m not suggesting that we are literal peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the flesh.
But, if that is all we eat, we do take on the attributes of the food. High carbs, high fat, high calories… so are we if that is what we choose to eat. We take on the characteristics of the choices we make. What happens when you switch to lean meats, veggies, water, and fruit? You shed off the old food and become the new food. Fat is lost. Calories are lost. Carbs are lost. Old clothes don’t fit any more. People look at us and say, “WOW!!!!, you look like a different person!!!”
And this is what happens as a result of worship. When we truly worship, we commune with God. We are in His presence. Just like eating the bread and drinking the cup during our Lord’s Supper, we take on the attributes, we consume them. We put Godly things into our lives. We invite the Spirit into our lives. And we change. We start to take on those Godly attributes and before we realize it… impatience is lost. Greed is lost. Pride is lost. Hate is lost. Sin is lost. Our old lives don’t fit us anymore and before we even realize it, people look at us and say, “WOW!!!!! you look like a different person!!!”. And we really are.
We died to our old way of living and now have a new lifestyle that is fully enveloped by Jesus. So, in a way, we are what we worship. To the greatest extent that we fall under grace. We aren’t God… but we are Godly. We aren’t Christ, but we are Christian. We aren’t perfect… but we are forgiven and made right… and that puts us right back at the beginning of this blog… How can we not worship Him with ALL of our heart, soul, mind, body, and spirit?
A relationship with God is not extra credit. It’s not optional. It’s critical to the entire plan of salvation. Don’t let worship be your vocal talent and nothing more. Don’t believe that your extravagant prayers are flattering to God. He wants to be consumed. He wants to be eaten up (so to speak) 😉 If you aren’t getting anything out of church, ask what you are putting into it. If you aren’t sharing with your fellow believers, start today. If you are ashamed or embarrassed to invite people to your family of God that happens to meet in a random building… you might not be the relative you thought you were.
It’s OK to be in these situations… as long as we understand its not OK to remain in them. If you don’t love your church… you have witnessed your first red flag. Start with God, open your honest heart to Him and work your plan and His from there. He gave His Son, our response in worship is our thankfulness for that gift. It CANNOT be stale, uninspired, or Spirit lacking in nature. Worship like we are mere men and women. Worship like we address a God. Worship as though He not only came to us, but He brought an unbelievable gift.