Coming back from my brother’s house last night my daughter hooked her phone up to my car. Adele’s version of Make You Feel My Love came on, and I went into worship mode. I began to envision this morning’s corporate gathering at Cross Point, our church family. A couple weeks ago as we climbed some steps at church the band had begun, and I raised my hands high before I reached my seat. I had a mask on, but no one but my wife and daughter had one on, and I didn’t care because the epiphany of worship had already gripped my heart and mind.
My denomination of origin was a very intellectual church where expression of emotion in corporate worship gatherings was frowned upon. No clapping, hand raising or shouting. You held a hymnal, and in some cases those published songs in a book had shaped notes as well as all four parts of the human voice because instruments were not included in our worship. The song leader did use a tuning fork or pitch pipe to begin the song.
Fast forward a few years to an incredible church in the same denomination who took acappella worship to a new level, and when we volunteered to work with the student ministry at that church the teenagers used instruments to lead us in Hillsong worship songs. It was an eye-opener for this conservative evangelical who relished in the uninhibited expression of love to God.
I’m thankful for the focus our forefathers put on reading and studying the Scriptures. I’m thankful for the passion and devotion the church fathers put into understanding what the Apostles were trying to do when they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Charismatic behavior in corporate worship assemblies doesn’t mean we aren’t worshipping in Spirit and truth. It doesn’t mean we don’t know the Greek word of baptism, and it certainly doesn’t mean worship with instruments is wrong. It’s not. If your conscience doesn’t allow you to worship with instruments don’t. But don’t condemn those of us who do. You also may not be able to consume alcohol. That’s fine too, but don’t judge those of us who can and do on a regular basis. Those who reject Jesus as LORD are the ones who need to be prayed for and encouraged to seek when the time is right. The Spirit will reveal to you when words are to be used. That can happen in a car during an Adele song, and it can happen in corporate worship gatherings. God’s presence is what we call omnipresent, and that fancy word means God is everywhere all the time. There’s not corner of the galaxy He doesn’t see or influence. That’s why it’s so comical that Adam and Eve tried to hide in the Garden of Eden. The Father “played” along in their ignorance.
I don’t know where you are in your spiritual journey, or if you have one. I do know that God loves you (John 3.16), and He is pursuing the entire world even it rejects Him. His work on the cross continues to work, and the Holy Spirit that was unleased after the resurrection continues to mold hearts to seek Him.
I pray you will intentionally seek Him as you read every word of this post.