Ah, yes: yet another installment of Balcony-Person Aj’s Sunday Reflections. I would be lying if I didn’t say that at moments I wondered if this is my Sunday theme song:
“Why do we always come here? I guess we’ll never know. It’s like a kind of torture to have to watch the show.”
But I think today’s worship gathering at NFC would’ve put a plug in their yappers, both due to amount of sharing, the type of content shared, and the stark call of the Spirit towards worship and adoration of God our King.
Today we sang a number of songs glorifying and confessing that God is our King – how we stand in awe of God, we bow down and crown you our King. I struggled with the songs some: many folks were so emotionally engaged, I wondered if they truly connected with the words or if they were participating in a more “staged and planned” experience (worship planned to take us deeper and deeper to a certain emotional point; the “high” is achieved/consumed where folks feel “touched”; the worship comes out of that deep place; we continue with life as normal feeling like our job is done). But then, of course, during open worship a number of people shared about the deep meaning and connection the worship songs had for them – for some it was a true confession of the profession that God is King; for some it was a marker of how songs serve as markers – the words take on additional meaning as God working and healing in them over the years. Ah, the Spirit dialogues in crazy ways.
As open worship began, a Friend stood and shared his concern for some business matters taking place at the Yearly Meeting/District level of our denominational gathering. He wanted to engage in discussion with others about their knowledge of these matters and to call attention to a meeting taking place next Sunday regarding these changes. Compared to the worship we had been engaged in, it was a shocking, jolting thing: my spirit recoiled so strongly that I started shifting in my seat, gripping the pew in front of me, feeling the need to Make-This-Stop!
My friend stepped up and did the job he is so gifted to do (though he is wonderful at preaching, despite what he believes I think): to name what just happened, to gently and lovingly remind us the difference between Open Worship and Worship for Business. The rest of our time was spent in open worship. Some continued down the road of business, but for the most part people seemed to enter into a deeper level of worship: sharing their personal calls, confessions, praises. It was almost as though the initial sharing reversely clarified what worship truly is – how we do it – what our attitudes and thoughts and actions and lives should be.
I understand why the friend spoke. With change can come perceived loss of control, and a natural reaction to such a threat can be fear. And I welcome the opportunities to discuss this at the appropriate time and venue.
But I’m even more excited about what will come from this encounter with the Spirit. I *know* the Spirit was there: a number of times people shared exactly what I was thinking. AND I’m realizing that I cry when the Spirit is around. Which is not the barometer I would prefer God to use to alert me to when the Spirit’s doing a jig (seeing as how I do things, such as sitting in the balcony, to AVOID ATTENTION). But tears flowed down my cheeks for a good half hour, and even the nose decided to join in the liquid bounty: boy howdy, I was so pretty on this Mama’s Day. 🙂
So I trade in my Heckler’s Theme song for a chorus, standing and waiting and loving on my Lord. Lord, you are calling us to a season of confession and deepened worship; will You help us receive what You have prepared for us?
You are beautiful beyond description,
Too marvelous for words;
Too wonderful for comprehension,
Like nothing ever seen or heard.
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depth of Your love?
You are beautiful beyond description,
Majesty enthroned above.And I stand, I stand in awe of You,I stand, I stand in awe of You;Holy God, to Whom all praise is due,I stand in awe of You.I stand in awe of You