Monday, April 25, 2005


I have been reading Chris Tomlin's book The Way I Was Made : Words & Music for an Unusual Life . The Noise We Make is an excellent chapter on worship, what the scriptures say about how we should worship.
  • Lift your hands. Psalm 134:2 "Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord" "Like many, I grew up in a church that was quite conservative. You only raised your hand if you had a question ( and you didn't get to have those in church) :) so I had to learn to raise my hands. Which is odd when you think about it. Raised hands are so rich in meaning." Then he gives examples - 1. when something good happens at a sporting event - it's how we cheer, get excited. It shows victory and extreme happiness. 2. It is the universal sign of surrender. Even criminals do it when caught by authorities. 3. It is a small child's reaction to seeing mommy or daddy. Please pick me up, hold me, I'm happy to see you. 4. It is a common response to some one we admire, adore, etc. - like a rock star at a concert. So why are we so afraid of expressing ourselves in this way?
  • Bow Down. Face and body down. Complete reverential surrender before God. Something we never seem to do. It feels funny....
  • Be Still Before Him. "We don't really know how to be quiet. But how do we expect to hear anything from God in all that noise?..We're afraid of silence...Our silence before God should be intentional." This is so true. We are so busy, so noisy, so afraid of being alone in the silence. "Be still and Know that I am God!"
  • Shout for Joy. "over and over the Psalms picture all of creation making a lot of noise in praise of God." Again - rare in a Sunday Service :)
  • Dance. "David danced before the Lord with all his might. Michael scolded him later for embarrassing her in public. David was defiant. 'I will celebrate before the Lord' he said. 'I will become even more undignified than this.' " 2 Samuel 6: 14,21,22 "That is the heart of a worshiper. Even though David was king, he was ready to humble himself in public to make God great." Why are we so afraid of movement? Of rhythm and beat. Of letting music speak to us, to get inside us, to move us, to enable us to wholly worship God. How silly people look singing a moving upbeat song still as a statue because we don't move/sway/dance in church! They look lifeless, unenthusiastic, bored - like they are just singing because they have to......God wants to see our joy!

"When you honor God in public, you will risk looking uncool. Worship calls for that kind of abandonment to the full joy of God's presence." Vulnerability in God's presence.

"When it comes to music and singing songs of worship to God, it's ultimately not about loud or quiet. It's not about how many folks show up. It's not about amplified or acoustic, contemporary or traditional. It's not about what you do with your hands or feet. Worship is still about Jesus...if you make him your Lord, then you're ready to respond 'in spirit and in truth'. However you express it, true worship will always set you in motion toward the object of your affection - God Himself. Because that's the way you were made."

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