Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Heart Lifted

"I will never forget how different prayer became for me," Cheryl explained to our Bible study group, "When I lifted my eyes from folded hands, scared of God." She demonstrated, lifting her head skyward, eyes open. She could look at God, freely, and talk to him directly. 

Worship is like that. Worshipping God involves us lifting our eyes and our hearts away from ourselves and toward Him who is alone worthy of worship. Our worship is not to be confined to a single space, like a church, or a single method. But every act of worship begins with humility: humbling ourselves, offering the sacrifice of praise, whether in our hearts, in our music, in our prayers, in our writing. The Hebrew and Greek words for worship are translated as prostrating oneself, to kiss (as in kissing the feet of a king), to reverence, to adore.

Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy. Psalm 99:5.

There is so much disagreement today on how a worship service should proceed, so much judgment. Hymns are thrown out in some churches because they "quench the spirit." Contemporary music is what "connects us to God." If hands are not raised, God's spirit is not present. If there is liturgy, there is no freedom in the worship. If there is no liturgy, worship is not true worship. And so on.

Balderdash. Our worship begins in the heart. A heart directed toward God in any place at any time in any circumstance is at worship. But in that worship, must also be truth: "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks." Jesus told this to the Samaritan woman at the well. Jews believed Samaritans were less than because their understanding of scripture was flawed. Women, especially poor Samaritan women, were not to be addressed. But Jesus speaks to her, and she pursues the truth: "I know the Messiah is coming, and when he does, he will explain everything to us." Jesus answered, "...I am he." (John 4:23-26). 

She discovered the truth and she worshipped. As did her friends: “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42). 

To Jesus, our King and Savior and Friend, who reaches out to all and saves flawed believers and accepts our flawed worship and praises: Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise! (Psalm 96:4).

1 comment:

Linda Maynard said...

I too am troubled by the differentiation of the "right" way to Worship God.
Knowing the Lord knows my heart and the heart of all of His children... settles it for me.
Sometimes, I think the controversies such as these have the Lord shaking His head and at times breaking His heart.