There are many experiences we have that are unique to us, but there are many more that can be classified as common to all of us. One of those experiences that we have all had at one time or another is losing our keys. Come on, be honest; I know I’m not the only one who has done that. What do lost keys and worship have in common? I’m so glad you asked.
When keys are lost it means they are not where they usually are, or where we think they are. And for some of us, it’s a cause for panic. Losing keys is a bad thing, but losing one’s self in worship–that is NOT a bad thing, in fact, it’s a very good thing. To be lost in worship means that we are no longer aware of ourselves as to place or being. To be lost in the praise and wonder of God means we step out of the places of fear, frustrations, agendas, and whatever and into a place that is absolutely safe. It is to engage in an act with abandon, putting everything out of sight and out of mind in order to offer to God the only kind of worship He is worthy of and deserves.
I think about that time when David brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6). Verse 14 paints this picture for us: “And David danced before the Lord with all his might.” How great is that? But his wife Michal, was disgusted with him and she let her displeasure be known. But listen to David’s response to Michal in verses 21 and 22: “I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord. Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes!” That day, in a crowded Jerusalem, David was lost in worship-his only focus was on God. In David’s heart and mind, there were no people in Jerusalem that day, only himself and God. He was lost in worship-nothing else existed. When was the last time you worshiped like this?
When I first arrived as Lead Pastor at Sheffield First, I made a commitment to first observe, even in worship. I believe that one can learn much from simply watching and I did this even in worship. We are blessed here to have 2 unique worship services, a very traditional worship service and an alternative service called The Edge. At The Edge, my contribution is the proclamation of The Word. Wanting to observe, I chose to sit at the back. But I read something that God used to convict me about this. I read that others need to see me, the pastor, worship. So I moved up to the front, second pew in the left section. I found this place liberating for me because I needed to worship before I began to proclaim the Word.
Yesterday I had a moment close to what David experienced. The worship band opened with a song that God used to literally blow me away–I became lost in worship. The song was built around one of Charles Wesley’s hymns “O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing” but with a David Crowder touch (click here to hear this song). In addition to the rich thoughts from the heart and mind of Charles Wesley, it was Crowder’s touch that caused me to become lost in worship. It goes like this:
So come on and sing out
Let our anthem grow loud
There is one great love
I wasn’t the only one lost in worship yesterday. One in my faith family had brought some of their friends who was visiting them on the way to Colorado. This husband and wife were from Austria and unbeknownst to be, they, too were lost in worship. I realized this when I was given the gift of opportunity to share from the Sacred Script. As I preached, I saw it in their eyes. There was a brightness in their eyes that reminded me so much more was happening and it wasn’t me making it happen. This couple, far from home, on a journey to Colorado became lost in worship.
When the service was over, I could still see the lingering effects of what they experienced by being lost in worship. They are going to carry this experience with them in their journey, and it will be a part of their identity for the rest of their lives, and throughout eternity. I was both thankful and humbled by their response to the message I had faithfully worked on, trying to make sure it was the Word that would make a difference in someone’s life. Thanks to God’s wisdom and the Holy Spirit, I was able to do what my heart desired about everything else-to honor Him by becoming an ordinary clay vessel that His Glory could shine through. (Even as I write this, I am so blown away that God still uses me, and still wonder what He saw in me that I could be His pastor of this flock.)
This “one great love” continues to cover me and propel me in this life in Grace. Worship, true Worship, Worship that honors our Father, Worship that our Creator is worthy of, Worship that expresses deep gratitude for the Sacrifice Jesus made for us, Worship that is truly empowered by the Holy Spirit, happens when we, like David, dance with abandon, in our hearts before The Lord. So, the next time you lose something, let it be a reminder to you, that YOU need to be lost in worship–to be consumed in that sacred moment–the moment that needs to happen in both our corporate worship and in our private worship. Help me, Lord, to dance without restraint in worship to you. Amen and Amen!