I had a conversation with Lenny Smith after worship yesterday. Lenny is a worshiper who has been leading worship for decades and has written over 100 praise and worship songs, two of which our team uses frequently in our Sunday morning offerings. One song; Our God Reigns, has been translated into many languages and I knew the song years before I met Lenny. Lenny's one of those rare individuals who are in complete awe of the works of God and who can talk for hours about worship. In other words; he's just the kind of person I like to associate with.
The conversation began with him affirming what we are doing as a worship community and confirming the direction that the Praise Team seems to be going. Then we got down to the essence of worship and he really made something clear that I've never been able to truly articulate.
We were talking about leading worship and he mentioned audience. He said that the trap is falling under the impression that God is our audience and that we feel that we do what we do in order to gain His approval. What he said next really clarified it for me. He said that we are the audience. We are ushered into the throne room not as court jesters for the amusement and approval of God, but we are ushered into His presence in order to respond to His love and acts with our adoration and praise.
Wow! It’s so simple yet so true. We seem to want to jump through hoops and perform for God with our acts of worship, but God has already done everything in Christ. This calls for a response and I believe that is exactly what worship is; a response to His grace, love, mercy, creation and mighty acts. We respond with our praise, adoration, humility, offerings and awe. This is worship.
How can we possibly think that we could ever perform for Him? All we can ever do is respond to Him with an offering because He is worthy. Worship is merely that; expressions of adoration and I don’t believe that it’s confined to Sunday mornings only.
For those of us who are in Christ Jesus; He is already especially fond of us and no amount of performing rituals, songs or acts of worship will make Him any more fond of us. Isn’t it a relief to know that we are accepted by Him through our association with Him? I guess that’s why Jesus calls us friends and what a friend He is.
I hope I get to talk to Lenny again soon. He’s just the type of individual I like to be around. You see friends respect you enough to challenge you and I appreciate that. It’s essential for our growth and I’m glad to know that Lenny cares.