” Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.” – John 4:21-23
Question of the day: “How do YOU worship?”
You might think this is a silly question, but in my opinion, it is one of the most critical in your faith journey. If you are like me, I always thought there was one way to worship: show up at church on Sunday, sing some songs, and listen to a sermon. That was worship, and I never questioned it.
However, I can tell you, that many times in my life, I have caught my mind wandering, or even worse, I have been known to fall asleep during the sermon (sorry Pastor Wade!) But I figured, “I showed up. That’s got to count for something.” Believe me, there are times that I couldn’t wait for that hour to end, for a variety of reasons. So I ask myself,
“Is this really what God expects?”
Here is my point, and I hope you put a great deal of thought into this because it is so critical to your relationship with God: Worship is a time for each one of us to come into the presence of our Creator. It is a time to pour out our hearts to Him, to allow Him to speak to us, and to simply express our gratitude and praise. So I ask you,
“Is that the nature of your interactions with God?”
It really wasn’t mine, UNTIL I learned the secret of true worship. I have come to the realization that God created us all differently and has given us all the means to worship Him in different ways. Think about what Jesus said earlier. He said the day was coming when it wouldn’t matter where you worshiped, the Father was more concerned with your heart condition and your level of engagement.
Here is where it gets good (especially for people like me who don’t like to sit still.) I have spent some time learning about worship temperaments and practices, and I was so happy to learn about the many different ways that we can express ourselves. So we are going to take the next few days and examine the different approaches to worship. I hope you will take some time and consider them, and contemplate how you are most comfortable engaging with God.
I believe once we all find our own unique ways of connecting with God, then we will really see some life change within our midst. Because once we truly CONNECT, we begin to realize who we are in Christ. And this is powerful.
So, here are the first two styles of worship. Take some time today and consider their appeal for you:
Naturalists – Loving God Out of Doors
Naturalists would prefer to leave any building, however beautiful or austere, to pray to God beside a river. These are the folks that see God in the trees, in the flowing water, in the squirrels, etc… They feel most connected, and able to speak with God, in these surroundings.
If this idea appeals to you, try to find a few minutes on this frigid day to just walk outside, take a deep breath, and listen. Look for Him in the details and in the grand scheme.
Sensates – Loving God with the Senses
Sensate Christians…are drawn particularly to the liturgical, the majestic, the grand…Incense, intricate architecture, classical music, and formal language send their hearts soaring. Sensates are very sensitive to what they hear, smell, and even taste. They tend to experience God in the emotions that are created through their sensitivities.
Try this: Sit and just listen to some worship music today. You can find all kinds of music at iTunes, youtube, or even on a christian radio station – 93.7 fm. But just spend a few minutes truly listening to the words and allowing them to take you to a place of connection.
Or, if you are able, consider visiting a very old church – the kind with stained glass windows and such. If you work near downtown, there are some lovely opportunities there. The Greek Orthodox Cathedral on 3rd Avenue south is a paradise for sensates.
I can’t wait to hear your stories about these experiments. I invite each of you to share your experiences over the next few days as we look at all the different ways to connect with God. As you can probably tell, this topic fascinates me.
You have created me wonderfully unique. Show me the way that I can best connect with You. Help me to find a way to release my soul and let it sing. I desire to know You more intimately. Help me find the way that I can best do that.
In the name of my Savior I pray,