A couple of weeks ago, I was blessed to serve on the ministry team on one of Fellowship of the Sword‘s Quest. One morning, I gave a quick overview of the postures of worship from the Old Testament. Even though it’s a Christian event, we don’t talk about where we go to church — it helps to keep out debates about our differences, in order to capitalize on our similarities. Too often, we are known by our denomination (i.e., a math term for “division”) rather than our love (John 13:35). But I digress.
As I later reflected on this brief teaching, I was struck by an arresting thought … which I’ll get to in a moment.
Think about the last time you went to a concert or sporting event (or watched one on TV). What did you see?
I saw people reaching out to the performer as he walked across the stage. I heard lots of shouting and singing while the band played musical instruments. Backup singers swayed to the music. Dancers danced. Fans threw their hands up in the air when their team scored the winning touchdown. Lots of smiling. Lots of laughing. Lots of fun!
Regardless of their favorite sport or type of music — regardless of their favorite team, band, or artist — everyone at the event responds with spontaneous outward expressions of excitement.
The only times people don’t show their excitement at these events are:
1.When there’s nothing to get excited about. I remember when I wasn’t a Tarheels fan and they went into a “Four Corners” stall (in the days before the shot clock). Who wants to see five guys toss the ball to each other, with no intention of taking a shot? There’s nothing exciting about that!
2. When people don’t have “skin in the game”. For instance, I find it difficult to get excited about hockey. The same for baseball. I might go if someone I cared about was taking me. But I wouldn’t be there for the event. However, put me in an arena watching the ‘Heels play basketball… well, that’s another story!
Now think about the last time you were in church. What did you see? For some of us, it’s been a long time. But again, I digress.
I saw people sitting when they were supposed to, standing when they were supposed to, and singing when they were supposed to. No spontaneous outward expressions of excitement.
I get the fact that each of our divisions, er… denominations have different customs. Some sit. Some stand. Some kneel. But how often are there spontaneous outward expressions of excitement in our churches?
Perhaps the reason why there are no spontaneous outward expressions of excitement in church is that there is nothing to get excited about. Predictable order of things. Predictable music. Predictable preaching. In a word, it’s predictable.
Or, perhaps there is something to get excited about, but we don’t experience spontaneous outward expressions because we don’t have “skin in the game”.
The bottom line is this: our spontaneous outward expressions of excitement reveal the value we place on what we are doing. They reveal the state of its worth. “Worth-ship” is the basis of the word, “worship”.
Now to my arresting thought:
How dare we give less to an Almighty, All-Sufficient, All-Sovereign, All-Satisfying God?
So how do you worship?