So I logged on to the blog last week to write some thoughts about the shooting in Texas, because twitter couldn't handle my rant and I very badly felt the need to get something out about all that I was feeling around our nation's gun and violence problem. And as I finished the brain dump that was that post, I realized just how much I missed this blog! I had been trying to get myself to work on a vlog, being a media pastor and all, but I just can't get myself comfortable with being a nerd with a camera in public. So for now, we'll stick to the written word.
I've been giving a lot of thought to the concept of worship lately. This Sunday, I'll be standing at 9:45 on a stage, with a guitar in my hands, surrounded by (incredibly awesome) musicians, and my task will be to "lead worship." (You should come) So very much has been argued and debated over what we mean when we're saying "lead worship." Some have suggested that the title is a bit arrogant. Who am I to be in charge? Why should we elevate one person over another in the body of Christ? Maybe we should call them "lead worshipers?" That kind of sounds silly. This is the conversation that has been going on, particularly in contemporary worship contexts. Some times it's a worthy conversation. Sometimes it makes me want to puke.
But all that takes place on Sunday. Today in particular I've been thinking about how I best prepare myself to lead worship (or whatever) well. I think some worship leaders wait until Sunday morning, taking a few minutes in their office before worship to read some scripture and to quiet their heart, or at least that's what I do. But I think that's a bit like the advice I always hear about hydrating during a race: you don't start hydrating on race day, you start at least two or three days out. I feel like the attitudes and habits of my heart today will have an impact on how I lead worship on Sunday.
So I've been giving some thought to what we mean by "worship." Of course we mean praising God's name, giving God glory both for who God is and what God has done. But I think there are a couple of steps before that. I think first we have to be aware of who God is and what God's done, but even more we need to carry a sense of wonder about who God is and what God's done. I think this sense of wonder is what separates those who worship the idea of God and those who worship God. I have plenty of theological theories and thoughts about God, but if that's all I've got I will have a really happy head and a totally depressed heart. We need wonder.
So I wonder (ha!) if I could take the next few days as a preparation for worship to intentionally place myself in places of wonder? I've found tremendous wonder at God's gift of creation, walking through the woods and just listening to the sound of nature. I've found tremendous wonder at a really good cup of coffee, not the Folgers or Maxwell House kind, but like a really good artisan cup of joe. I've also found a tremendous sense of wonder when I surround myself with others who are full of wonder, and as luck would have it two and a half year olds fit the bill perfectly.
Maybe then, after looking at what God is doing in the world around me, after wondering at the tremendous gifts that God has bestowed and continues to give, maybe then I'll be able to put a little bit of soul behind the notes of my voice. Maybe I'll dance a bit more freer on stage. Maybe the weight of what I'm singing will wash over me in a new way. Maybe I'll be surprised with what God does on Sunday morning, and maybe that will be an occasion for more wonder.
But, I'm just the guy with the guitar. Imagine if everyone who gathered in worship Sunday did this kind of prep work! It doesn't take much. Find the things that take your breath away in life, the things that fill you with joy, the things that make your heart sing, and then sit with those for a while. I think you'll be surprised with what wonder can do for the soul.