Thursday, September 20, 2012
TOGETHER...we can freely praise the Lord!
This week's Bible verse:
"Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods." --Psalm 40:4
I love working with children! When they are in a group, they love to act silly with each other and they express every emotion they have in very obvious ways. When I get a group of kids going with a fun song, they love it! Then...as I have recently been told by parents...they sing that song ALL DAY LONG! ;-) But...kids love to have fun and express their joy in being kids. They are supposed to do that. Adults...well only in certain situations.
I live in Ohio...in "Buckeye country." Ohio State sports, especially football is a big deal almost everywhere you go. I was in an airport one time when an Ohio State basketball game was being played and a random fan yelled out O - H...and many people in the area yelled back... I- O! It is the universal Ohio State call. On these fall Saturdays, you see scarlet and grey t-shirts, sweat shirts, buckeye necklaces, Block O's painted on faces every where you go. On game day at "The Shoe" on The Ohio State campus, you will see grown adults with their entire bodies painted scarlet and grey, whooping and hollering, singing the fight song and "Hang On Sloopy." All this crazy behavior is totally acceptable and almost required if you live in the area. It is a COMMUNITY of people who all believe in the team and want to fit in with their peers and do as the group does. I have participated in several of those same behaviors.
But...on Sunday morning...in the KidsPraise chapel during a rocking praise song, the kids are up front singing and dancing and praising the Lord with everything they have and their parents are sitting in the chairs behind them barely moving. Most aren't even clapping along. And then, during their own time of worship, those same adults stand and maybe sing along with the praise band, but really just want to sit down and hear the pastor's sermon so they can get home for lunch and more football where they can yell, scream and clap loudly in the comfort of their own home.
I totally understand this. Church is a dress up-act respectfully-be quiet and somber kind of place. That's the way were taught, right? Religious behavior has replaced the JOY that we can feel with God.
David DANCED for joy when the arc of the covenant was returned! Music was played and he danced and sang with unabandoned joy! But yet, those of us today who obviously love the Lord and feel joy in him are afraid to show that joy by even raising our hands or clapping.
I KNOW more of us FEEL like dancing and singing and clapping for joy, but we are afraid of looking foolish or feel it isn't dignified. We are in this together...God gave us the church so we could go through life WITH others and we wouldn't be alone. Why do you think he said that it was not good that man was alone and brought woman into the world? We are MEANT to live in community and we are MEANT and made to praise God with everything we have!
It took me a long time to learn to be free with my worship. What it took was singing with a group of other people who were also learning the same thing. When singing a beautiful song of praise, it is now natural for me to close my eyes, raise my hands, clap or shout for joy. We do it together and it is easier!
Be joyful today! Call a friend and give a little shout of joy! Start with baby steps...maybe one day I'll be standing on stage in church and see the whole congregation with raised hands and smiles of joy on their faces...in a community together, comfortable in the fact they are praising the God who gives them joy in the first place!
J - E - S.....U - S!!!!!