Think of the best love songs we sing, the crazy, heartfelt promises that we belt out as the chorus soars. The pledges of unending, unfailing, undimming devotion - If the promises whispered in ears during the last dance of the disco were all kept, we all would have married our first love......as a matter of fact I did! Even there, we danced & sang to Whitney Houston 'I will always love you' at the reception.
We are no different in our churches, singing with genuine emotion & hands in the air each Sunday. This is our equivalent of the last dance, the big moment in the meeting when hearts are stirred, hope of changed lives dawns, brighter futures are promised. I wonder, if we really mean what we say in our Sunday celebrations? Doesn't there come a point where our devotion to our first love begins to overflow into an authentic live of worship?
Words are easy of course. We make promises to each other & to God in worship each week which are about as throwaway as a Lib Dem pledge on tuition fees!
Think about it - We stand to sing in tears,‘Lord I give You my heart, every breath I take every moment I’m awake, have Your way in me....’ only to go home & download porn, we gossip over Sunday lunch, we exaggerate our expense claim on Monday morning. Don't mistake this comment for cynicism. 99% of the time our passion in worship is genuine, our intentions true - but there comes a point where our words & our worship have to add up to something if we're going to show the world a better way to live.
How does singing on a Sunday, ‘Here I am to bow down’, affect my life at work on a Monday morning? How does my reverence in a prayer meeting this Wednesday evening impact the way I speak to my wife over breakfast on Thursday, or my attitude of submission to my awkward unbelieving boss at the office?
Having bowed down in worship at church when He seems near, how do I bow out in the boat, in the storm, when I’m not sure that He’s coming to rescue me? How do I continue to submit in reverence to Christ, to recall what I know of His goodness,in the midst of all the crises of life?
Having eaten the bread & drunk the wine in communion, how can I continue to nourish myself on the bread of life, how can I remain aware of His blood which covers all my sin when I'm far from the cup & the crowd?
How do I worship Him, continue to magnify Him when all hope is gone? How do I lift my hands at home in worship when I barely have the strength to lift my head from the bed? How do I learn to fall facedown in a mix of fear & joy at the feet of Jesus who comes to me in my grief, this Christ who has overcome everything, even sin & death, & now draws near to me?
How does my confession of praise, my narrative of God’s story in my life, draw unbelievers towards the Saviour? To paraphrase the writer to the Hebrews: Is their any fruit from my lips as I confess His name?
Maybe as we get the answers to these questions then we’re beginning to get to the heart of what it means to be radical spirit & truth worshippers of Jesus for the 21st Century – We’re starting to see what it truly means to offer our lives as living sacrifices in our generation. These are the worship words we're exploring this Sunday & intending to live in the days ahead.