Monday, March 12, 2012

There's Just Not Enough Room

What worship sometimes looks like in my house.
We kicked off a new series at PCC today. Ritual will take us through the next five weeks - clear to Easter - as we examine various rituals of faith and the modern church. We got the idea from National Community Church and Mark Batterson, made it our own, and now here we are, poised to take a fresh look at the rituals of our faith.

It began today with a look at worship. Rather than just talk about it in a standard format, we crafted a service that looked and sounded quite different than our usual approach. The message meandered through the entire 60-minute service, illustrated by song, responsive reading, offering and silence.

I believe the message was one of the best teaching messages I've heard my pastor deliver. He taught about worship; how to worship, what it means and why it matters. The words he shared about offering as worship were potent. The risk he took as he led us into a long, uncomfortable silence - and the gentle way he invited us out of that discomfort - was profoundly moving.

Worship at home.
Most of all, I love the way he emphasized the direction of our worship, the realignment of our role as performers for God (rather than watching those on the platform as performers for the congregational audience). That hit me.

I know this. And yet every week, after church, I find myself anxiously awaiting the pronouncement of "It was good." I look to my husband, to my kids, to my friends, to my band mates, to my co-workers. Before I swore off Facebook for Lent, I logged on every Sunday afternoon to see what people were saying about church. About worship.

And if they said it was "good", I was content. I believed it was good. And I felt as though I'd done what I'd set out to do, what I'd been called to do.

But Brian's teaching today, and the fact that I'm off Facebook, and the gentle conviction of God - all these things combined today to help me be content. Period. We sang, we prayed, we listened, we gave. We worshiped God, together.

And there it was. I need to be there more often, more consistently, focused on the response of God rather than the people around me.

Not necessarily worship...
There was still some feedback about today's service that brought me joy. My friend called this evening to say that his wife and daughter couldn't stop talking about their experience this morning. A friend shared that hearing The Doxology in a fresh way made her cry.

But best of all was this, from my daughter:

"What's with the camera guys taking up all the seats in the front row? I had to sit in the second row! And when we got to 'Revelation Song', I just had to get up and move right in front of the camera. There's just not enough room, and I have to be free to worship! I have to move! Today, I had to MOVE!"

Now, we are not a Pentecostal church; this girl just needs room to move. She lifts her hands and she experiences the fullness of God in corporate worship. She is close enough for me to see from the platform, and her reaction - her demonstration of the reality of the activity that is happening in her heart and her head, as she responds to God - is encouraging to me. But not just because she's responding to what we are doing on the platform. I witness her responding to God.

That is a beautiful thing. It's a privilege to behold. And from the platform, when I look out upon a sea of us responding to God, I am overwhelmed with the glory of what we do. When I see you responding to God, I am in awe.

I'm soaking in that tonight, and praying that God was honored in all we did this morning.

If you were there - I hope you experienced God in a meaningful way!

You can watch the service here.

Worship in a small thing of beauty; the inlay on a banjo hanging at Powhatan Music & Sound.

1 comment:

annie said...

Love this, Beth! I will have to watch the service! I still get the email notices and links for when services are starting. I sometimes wish I were less self-conscious in my worship experience but on the other hand, I am a quiet person who likes to be lost in the crowd! I was going to say "so maybe I should accept my style of worship and the way God made me to be comfortable in worship" and then realized that sometimes, worship is enhanced by doing things differently! And isn't that one of the very things you are talking about?!! Sheesh, don't get me out of my comfort zone! LOL