Worship Where You Are

I can’t carry a tune in a basket.

It’s true. I wasn’t blessed with a singing voice. That is not my contribution to the body of Christ. I’m not someone that the whole world WANTS to listen to sing.

Add to that the fact that we have been spoiled here in the American church with praise and worship that mimics a concert. Instruments and amps, cords and connections and sound professionals all come together every week to make sure that our worship experience smoothly ushers us into the presence of the Lord.

Many churches have entire teams of people whose responsibilities on Sunday morning include creating the ideal worship environment. There’s nothing wrong with that, either. One of the church’s roles is to help us walk in our relationships with the Lord.

Then Covid-19 came and turned our traditional American church experience upside down.

Suddenly we’ve all become a little like David. We’re in hiding, seeking refuge, looking to the Lord for deliverance, refuge and strength. But are we running to Him, singing his praises in authentic adoration and dependence?

It’s so easy, when things get hard and the world seems like an inhospitable place, to retreat. We aren’t used to worshiping when the kids are running wild, in our dirty, messy houses, with dogs barking and a million tasks pulling us in a million directions. Usually we set aside a time for worship. We say “On Sunday, I’m leaving my home and going to church, where I will silence my phone, check my children into the nursery/send them off to Kids’ Ministry and spend some time in worship.” Now, suddenly, that has been taken away from us.

Like David, we’re in a dirty cave, wondering what the future looks like. We’re hunkered down, but have we cast aside all of our pride? Have we set aside our desires to perform? To be the best, to have it all together, to look great to those watching? Are we still caught up in “Sunday Morning Best” attitudes?

We are called to worship the Lord right here, right now. In the middle of this chaos. In the middle of our messes. With kids climbing on us and bosses breathing down our necks as we attempt to work from home while homeschooling our kids and social distancing. We’re called, as sons and daughters of the King, to pause in Holy Devotion to the Lord in the midst of our messy living rooms, with kids asking us questions and dogs in our faces. In those moments, we’re called to lift our voices to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

I was reminded of this today, when my dear friend and our church’s worship leader, Amber, posted a video she made for our little small town church community. Because of the shelter in place order, our church service on Youtube is not a full, live service. We are not getting our worship band all together in one place right now. Our Sunday morning church message is just our beloved Pastor sharing the message God has placed on his heart.

Amber created a worship set for us in her kitchen. She set a chair in front of her kitchen door, and there, with her Kindergartner asking her questions and her dog trying to get all up in her business, she offered her praise and worship to the Lord. A Capella- no background instruments. Alone. On Camera. For all of us to see.

It was one of the most beautiful, humbling things I have ever seen. I sat on my couch, in my pajamas, singing my soul to the Lord with tears streaming down my face. Turning on praise music while I clean my kitchen is not the same as pausing my life, and offering myself wholly before the Lord in worship.

We are called to worship where we are, all the time. Our souls long to connect with the God who traded Himself for us. We are created to press pause in the chaos that has become our lives and sit before the throne in humble adoration of the one who was and is and will always be.

Take a moment today, and stop.

The world isn’t going to stop making noise around us. We have to be the ones to stop, right in the middle of the chaos and sing our souls before the King. Let your joy shine through. Let your gratitude show. Let the Lord see your hurting, humble, redeemed spirit. You are His and He is yours and nothing will ever change that.

Life is beautiful, even in the midst of chaos, because he is the giver of life. He is healer, redeemer. He is a chain breaker. He is restoration, freedom and all that is good and right in the world.

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness, come in to his presence with singing. Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.  For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100, NRSV)

Lord, Thank you for this reminder today. Thank you for the beautiful moments of worship. Thank you for Amber and for all that she gives to me as a friend and to our church as a worship leader. She is such a blessing. I needed to be reminded that worship goes beyond just playing praise music and singing along. It’s pausing my life in a moment of adoration. I do adore you, Lord. You are my everything, and all that I have is yours. All that I have comes from you. Where would I be without you? I can only imagine. Help me continue to draw closer to your presence in authentic worship. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Amber’s Home Worship Set, for Shelbyville’s First Assembly of God
I hope it moves your spirit like it did mine.

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