This quote at Everyday Liturgy got me thinking:
Most of us can no longer fathom worshiping to something without words for long periods of time, works that were written as sacred art.
That is a very good thought and well-stated. It really doesn’t need another long post by me to expound on it! But, of course my emotional brain started connecting it with other areas of my life where I experience the same emotions stirred by this comment. The quote began to make sense of some of my experiences, which I really had not had words for. This post is my attempt at making sense of the not-totally-related path my brain went down.
I do appreciate certain praise songs, because they put words to the worship I am doing in my heart. But, there are times when any words are inadequate and some of the common “worship jingles” don’t even come close.
The above quote resonated with me because I’ve been noticing how excited I get about things I like (no rocket science there–getting excited is a normal response to things we like– it’s more that I’ve been analyzing that experience lately). But, what I notice along with it is that when I’m moved to deep appreciation and awe by art or music or someone’s profound insight, I am aware of God’s hand in that.
I read a lot. And when I read something amazing, one of my first thoughts is to try to imagine what kind of brain it takes to be able to come up with that concept. How that person’s brain makes connection in unusual ways to come up with such a unique or profound perspective. I do this all the time with funny people. I laugh really hard at their jokes, but the admiration for the kind of person that is able to naturally think like that stays with me for a long time.
So, what’s that have to do with worship? I can’t separate that amazement from God. Being amazed at a particular person’s outstandingness in a given area adds the specifics to the general and deep reality of my being in awe at God.
When I marvel at what a person does, an internal response I have is something along the lines of, “Wow, God that is amazing.” Those words fall a little flat, because it’s more than just including God in my excitement. It’s an acknowledgement of God at the heart of the excitement I feel. In all the expressions of genius I see around me–visual art, music, words well crafted, scientific understanding, an electrician who knows his business and can explain it so that I understand it, a talented horse rider, a person who lives and breathes compassion in unrewarding places, a person who suffers with grace and courage, creative resourcefulness–each of these, to me, is a beauty that flows out of the creative heart of God, which makes me worship Him.
I don’t mean that I stop and have a praise and worship service right then and there, every time I’m moved (I’m way too reserved for that 🙂 ) But, it’s kind of like an ongoing worship in communion with God. Walking through life, noticing things out of the ordinary or even noticing the beautiful ways that people do the ordinary, that they live out their gifts , live with their weaknesses. Christians or not, in this area of moving me to worship, it really doesn’t matter. I see God’s hand all around me, and I acknowledge and worship Him in the quiet places in my heart.
Last Sunday’s sermon touched on this. The pastor pointed out how, when we see a great piece of art, we say, “That artist is amazing.” The beauty and genius that I see in people’s lives all around me makes me feel the reality I already know, “Wow, God you’re amazing.”
Being moved to worship because of the beauty I see around me, doesn’t mean that I disregard the person and only see God. Somehow seeing and worshipping God as I internalize and appreciate the gifts of people around me also makes me appreciate people more. Maybe it’s like a feeling of, “You are the one who has helped me see, think about and love God more in this moment, and I appreciate who you are as a person and love you more for that.” That is true whether or not I have ever met the person.