I have a vivid memory (that’s almost ten years old now!) of the leadership team for my college ministry group sitting around planning how our Sunday School time was going to be allotted.
Our college worship leader (picture him with me- hair a little long, flip-flops on his feet, a guitar pick or two in his pocket- I’m sure you’ve seen him around) asks, “So, how many songs do we want in our set? Four? Six?”
Now you can picture me, taking notes on the meeting, turning a light shade of red because I know I’m about to insult my friend, “Four is good,” I say. And suddenly I think they know my secret. I’m the one who never raised her hands in adoration. I rarely sang above a whisper. In fact, I volunteered to change the overhead transparencies so I wouldn’t get bored during, “I could sing of Your love forever…. I could sing of Your love forever….”
I know some of you can’t relate. I hope you aren’t horrified by me. I just didn’t get it. It all seemed a little too emotional for me. I’d rather sing two songs and have ten more minutes of preaching/teaching. Why can’t we just skip to the good part?
Fast forward a few years (after moving to North Carolina for seminary, after marrying Lee, now pregnant with our first son). We are sitting in the church auditorium with about a thousand members of our spiritual family and I see in the bulletin that the next song will be interpreted through sign-language and dance. “Don’t look up. Don’t look up,” I said to myself but it was too late. The song played, the group was lined up and they worshiped God. The band, the congregation singing, the sign language, the gentle movements to the music- it was all too much for me. Tears streamed down my face and I was speechless. Not because I didn’t want to sing along, but because I couldn’t. I was overwhelmed by the power of worship.
Blame it on hormones or the Holy Spirit, I finally got it. What the long haired, flip-flop wearing guy had known years before. It’s not all about what I can get (from fellowship, studying, preaching/teaching). It’s also about what I can give. I can turn the outside world off for a few minutes (or even a long set) and feel His presence. I can lift my voice in adoration and join with my church family in praise.
I’m still not the hand raising, sing the harmony part, “Let’s sing that chorus three more times!” kind of gal, but I am singing. Worshiping.
And on our way to church when I hear my three year old sing along with me in the back seat, “He is mighty to save, might to save…” I pray that he grows up to be a worshiper, and all that description includes. I wouldn’t even mind if he grew up to have long hair, wear flip-flops, and always have a guitar pick with him.