I was packing boxesof stuff that I had stored away in my bedroom closet when I came upon this interesting streamer I’ve had for about 7-8 years. I smiled remembering a time when banners and streamers were the rave in churches around the south (maybe even the north). I remember we tried desperately to convince our pastor that it wasn’t ridiculous and that we should incorporate banners in our worship. He was adamant, so we settled for just using them in our youth services. We loved it and even put together a banner team that would worship along the praise team during youth worship service. That lasted about a year maybe even less than that. After a while, it lost excitement or fuel-not sure what happened, I guess we just grew out of it. To be honest, sometimes I ask myself, what the heck was I thinking? Can’t say why, but I just feel differently about it now. Not saying is wrong, is just not something I care to engage in anymore.
Kneeling in my close packing boxes, that streamer got me thinking about the way my worship has evolved through the years. I remember I used to pray out loud, I mean my prayer time was so intense I would sometimes shout and weep. I don’t do that so much now. Well, at least not the shouting part. I still cry before God with great intensity and quite frequently. I have much to cry about, I suppose.
[quote style=”boxed”]There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered. – Nelson Mandela[/quote]
There have been other changes that make me wonder if I’ve grown beyond certain behaviors and expressions of worship that were such a big part of my life. I hope I haven’t grown beyond any of it. I can tell though that I have become mellower. I meditate a lot more than I used to. I listen more attentively also. I am moved to tears at baby dedications, baptism services, or at weddings -is that weird? There have been times I have felt God’s conviction in my life overwhelm me while at work or while reading a book. I think what it all means is that I’m in a different place in my life; a different season, perhaps.
When I was younger, I had a hunger for spiritual things that came out of pure curiosity. Now, I find my self-seeking a closer walk with God out of desperation. I don’t mean to say, I have arrived and know everything I need to know, but what drove me to pick up a banner and dance around a stage, moves me in a different way now.
See, I think what I am learning as I mature in Christ is that at the end of the day, I need God in me and working through me intimately, so that I can offer him worship from a broken place that only he can restore. I want to offer up a sacrifice of praise that will be pleasing to him regardless of how others view it. I also want to offer worship that is not bound by rituals or embellishments; it needs to be raw, pure, and absent of outside influences. My worship to God has to be just that, mine!
[quote style=”boxed” float=”center”]So now: Fear God. Worship him in total commitment. Get rid of the gods your ancestors worshiped on the far side of The River (the Euphrates) and in Egypt. You, worship God. Joshua 24:14 (The Message) [/quote]
I neatly folded the streamer and put it away. I reminded myself that just because that is not something I use anymore, doesn’t mean it has no value. I want to be reminded of how God moved in my life in the past so that I never become ungrateful of what he’s done in my life as we move forward together. Maybe you find yourself in a different season of sorts just like me. Just remember to remain pure at the core, crazy in love with Jesus regardless of what goes on around you. Whether you worship with reckless abandon or worship in the solitude of your soul, worship!