Today was my turn to lead the discussion in our Spiritual Formation class. I chose this day specifically because the chapter was on the Discipline of Worship. Being a worship leader, I new I wouldn’t be too lost in the content. (I still have so much to learn about many of the Spiritual Disciplines.) Let’s just say, that decision was not my own, but Divine Providence. Through this one chapter, God caused me to question what I’ve always believed, be excited about things I currently see happening, and challenged me on whether or not I truly worship.
Where to start first? Go out and pick up a copy of “Celebration of Discipline” by Richard J. Foster. Read it. It can be a little thick at times, but wow.
First, Foster brought out an interesting point. Worship is “breaking into the Shekinah of God, or better yet, being invaded by the Shekinah of God.” Fantastic! (What is Shekinah – the glory or radiance of God dwelling in the midst of his people.) All my life, I’ve been taught that we have to move ourselves into the presence of God. This is the exact opposite. When we truly enter worship, God’s glory will invade our hearts. John 4:23 says “but the time is coming – indeed it’s here now-when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him in that way.” Worship is how we respond to God’s drawing of us to Himself. Have you ever thought of it that way? I hadn’t.
Foster also pointed out how very important it is to prepare ourselves for true worship. Not just for ourselves, but for the entire family of God. “When more than one or two come into public worship with a holy expectancy, it can change the atmosphere of a room. People who enter harried and distracted are drawn quickly into a sense of the silent Presence. Hearts and minds are lifted upward. The air becomes charged with expectancy.” I can’t say that I’ve ever honestly experienced that, but I will be seeking it out. I’ve challenged myself to prepare to approach worship with a holy expectancy. That is, I will expect to hear the voice of God…not just drone on in a weekly routine of half listening because my mind is distracted by life and what I have to do next.
I will prepare my heart by seeking God in quiet prayer. I will pray over church members who seem frazzled just upon entering the building. I will be awake and aware of the guiding of my Teacher, Father, and Friend.
…I’m going to leave you with these thoughts today, and come back tomorrow with more.
With that, take some time and worship and meditate on Psalm 148:
Hallelujah! Praise God from heaven,
praise him from the mountaintops;
Praise him, all you his angels,
praise him, all you his warriors,
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, you morning stars;
Praise him, high heaven,
praise him, heavenly rain clouds;
Praise, oh let them praise the name of God—
he spoke the word, and there they were!
He set them in place
from all time to eternity;
He gave his orders,
and that’s it!
Praise God from earth,
you sea dragons, you fathomless ocean deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and ice,
hurricanes obeying his orders;
Mountains and all hills,
apple orchards and cedar forests;
Wild beasts and herds of cattle,
snakes, and birds in flight;
Earth’s kings and all races,
leaders and important people,
Robust men and women in their prime,
and yes, graybeards and little children.
Let them praise the name of God—
it’s the only Name worth praising.
His radiance exceeds anything in earth and sky;
he’s built a monument—his very own people!
Praise from all who love God!
Israel’s children, intimate friends of God.