Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Worship Come to Its Senses: Part Two

Whatever happened to awe? It's a question I ask often, because over the past semester I have seen a huge need for this sense of awe. I have had many struggles in different worship services. Sometimes I struggle with apathy, boredom, and being over critical in worship. But to be honest, awe is something I rarely struggle with. Sadly I can't attribute this to very many of the Church worship services I've been a part of. I developed a sense of awe from a few sources. A few Don Saliers also talks about like: nature, reading and hearing about the vastness of the universe and the limits of humans, and in the birth of my baby niece.
I feel like far too often we lose this sense of being in awe of the presence of God in our worship services. I have to speak on this from a strange stance, through conversations I've had. I have to speak from this rather than personal experience, because God has been radically showing me His presence in so many ways over the past year. But being involved in the lives of so many people on campus and at Southern Hills, I constantly talk to people who don't feel anything and haven't been able to grasp even a glimpse of the Grandeur of God. They want to badly, but they haven't seen it yet.
We have some pretty awesome encounters with God in Scripture: the burning bush, the crossing of the Red Sea, the mount of transfiguration, and the vision of a new Jerusalem. Saliers says, "unless we bring to the speaking, the singing, the praying, and the meal our sense of life and death, the liturgies will remain 'churchy.'" and the mystery of God will not be shown.
So how do we do this? Saliers says there are but five ways to accomplish that (which is pretty lame to limit it to five ways, but here are his ways).
1) Reawaken a view of the grandeur and intricacy of the natural world. One practical way to do this is on a retreat. Spend a good portion of the retreat outside and it will bring a great rhythm to the weekend.
2) Expose them to a current knowledge of the vastness of the universe and the limits of our own perspectives. This has been especially formative for me. I especially remember Louie Giglio's keynote at a Chris Tomlin concert, on his "How Great is Our God" tour. Wow! Did we ever get a picture of the BIG God we serve!
3) A Funeral Service. The whole church can grieve and celebrate their friends and loved ones in the face of the mystery of our mortality.
4) The joy of a newborn baby. This helps us to see the extraordinary grace of God. And the awesome being it must take to make life from nothing.
5) Healing services. "For the heart of Christian worship is the promise that Jesus Christ stands in our midst, ready to receive us, to heal and give blessing.
I would add one more HUGE one that had been extremely formative to me. The Eucharist. I have been so amazed at God on many occasions when I take of the Lord's Supper. I am awestruck that I along with saints from across the globe and across time can all come together at the table and eat and drink our Lord Jesus Christ. We must bring back a sense of awe to our time together at the table.
When we get back this sense of awe, "this is when we learn again to offer our lives, all we have an all we are, in adoration of God." This is true worship.



Wes and Ellen said...


Thanks for your thoughts. I was talking to a friend who shared with me that he doesn't feel like he has truly worshiped in a long time. At the time I could relate (thankfully since then I have had some meaningful experiences in a worship service setting). After reading you thoughts here on our awelessness in worship, I have recognized this as a regular symptom of my worshiplessness.

You following me?
Last night during the prayer time we had at HIP, I was really blown away with thankfulness for my Christian commmunity. In fact, I stood in awe.

Jordan Taylor Bunch said...

Man I totally agree! Last night was AWEsome! It felt so good to see everyone praying for everyone else, and to see people stepping out and wanting to pray for more and more people. I saw a few people out in the isles on their knees and other people using other prayer postures. It was one of the coolest worship services I've ever been a part of.