Their sung worship blew my mind.
Reference: “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.” Psalm 134:2 NIV
Explore: I grew up in a church that was not very expressive in their sung worship. The congregation was incredibly dedicated to God, but when it came to singing you completed the six verses, following along with the organ, and then sat down.
When I was 13 years old I attended another denomination with my friend. She was playing in the band so I ended up sitting up the front, near her, but ultimately on my own.
Their sung worship blew my mind. They had all sorts of instruments and even drums!
In a song that was rather upbeat the whole congregation started clapping. In church! I’d heard of this before but never experienced it outside the children’s ministry.
At one point, the person leading the singing (who wasn’t the minister!) asked the whole congregation to raise their hands in worship. I remember it like it was yesterday. I stood at the very front, in mental turmoil, as to whether I should raise my hands.
On the one hand, as most early teenagers do, I thought that every one must be looking at me, and I didn’t want to be the odd one out raising my hands. On the other hand I was incredibly dedicated to my faith and I didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardise my relationship with God.
These people said they were Christians but I hadn’t heard of this hand raising business in church before and I wasn’t willing to go with the flow in case this whole congregation had it wrong! And so I stood at the front, my hands by my side, hoping no one thought I was bad for not doing what the person up the front told me to do.
Boy did I have a lot of questions for my mum and dad when I got home!
Application: Looking back I have to laugh at the situation. My worship is not very different to that of the denomination I grew up in and I hardly think twice about raising my hands.
But I do look back fondly at my younger self. I’m proud that as a teenager, who just wanted to fit in and follow instruction, I wasn’t willing to jeopardise my relationship with God, even if it meant standing out to a whole congregation.
Now I read through the Bible I hear a whole variety of ways to worship. But it’s important to keep in mind that worship, while great done in community, is an expression of your own connection with God.
If you are too busy thinking about whether you should do what everyone else is doing, rather than thinking about God, then your act of worship has lost the point. When it comes to worship we need to be a little less mindful of those around us and more focused on the Lord we are worshipping.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for creating us with all different ways of expressing ourselves. May we each find our way of bringing You praise, but always be open to expanding our worship repertoire. Amen.
How do you like to worship God?
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This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.