23 May 2014
worship in observance
If you have come to this you have undoubtedly felt an overwhelming presence - a warming of the heart, perhaps - in which an experience became more than the sum of its parts. A recent moment for me was watching my seven-year-old at her school's spring concert-show. Watching her, along with other children sing and dance for the joy of doing so - and since this is a Christian school, they were songs of praise - ushered in a moment where I felt as though I was truly thankful and blessed. I think this comes to us more as we learn how to soak up life more than speed through life, as we learn to treasure more than we check off one experience to start searching for the next. There is wisdom and beauty in this, for it is a life that is increasingly open to the still small voice of the presence.
Added to this, I have noticed for some time that I am touched when I watch congregations of people worship. Perhaps some of this is from my experience of being one of the 'up-front' people for much of my church life, as part of the music or pastoral ministries. There is a joy and an awe that most people never experience - one that I consider a blessing to myself - which is watching the Spirit of God move within a body of believers who together are watching heavenward. And there is worship in the observance, if we have eyes to see and ears to hears what the Spirit is saying to his own.
I have not spoken in tongues, and my worship is seldom a charismatic experience, in the common use of the word. But I have heard the voice of heaven speak in my heart and have been moved the very real presence of the living God through the stillness of my heart when I am not so much caught up in the responsibilities of worship as the watchfulness of the moving Spirit. I do not discount these other endeavors, but seek only to encourage those who seek God to become still and expectant of these moments that take us far beyond ourselves and into his presence. He will not force us to pause over them, for that is not his way. But we will be utterly transformed if we allow ourselves to linger in that presence for its few fleeting moments, tasting and seeing.