The Frozen Chosen

At one of the latest Sunday Night Lives, the kids and I conducted a little experiment.
“Let’s do different things and see if we can get others to do the same,” I whispered to Little Jeffrey.
Always a willing candidate for his mother’s oddities, he nodded eagerly.
As we sang our hearts out, I raised one hand. Little Jeffrey and friends did the same in the row behind me. I raised two hands. Once again, they echoed my action. I raised both hands high and swayed back and forth.
This was too much for my younger co-conspirators. They dropped their hands and their eyes in self-consciousness. A quick glance around told me that there weren’t many other takers in my demonstrative worship strategies.
They don’t call us the frozen chosen for nothing.
Do you ever feel like letting worship carry you away? Do you ever forget there are others in the sanctuary with you? Sometimes I feel like it’s just me and God. At these times, I can’t help but to lift my hands in praise.
I just finished reading an awesome book called Celebration of Discipline, the Path to Spiritual Growth. Perhaps some of you have read this wonderful book by Richard J. Foster as well. In it, Mr. Foster explores various forms of spiritual discipline, such as meditation, prayer, fasting, simplicity, etc. His chapter on worship was especially interesting to me. Mr. Foster states: “God calls for worship that involves our whole being…Often we forget that worship should include the body as well as the mind and the spirit. The Bible describes worship in physical terms. The root meaning for the Hebrew word we translate worship is ‘to prostrate.’ The word bless literally means ‘to kneel.’ Thanksgiving refers to ‘an extension of the hand.’ Throughout Scripture we find a variety of physical postures in connection with worship: lying prostrate, standing, kneeling, lifting the hands, clapping the hands, lifting the head, bowing the head, dancing, and wearing sackcloth and ashes. The point is that we are to offer God our bodies as well as all the rest of our being. Worship is appropriately physical…We are quick to object to this line of teaching. ‘People have different temperaments,’ we argue. ‘That may appeal to emotional types, but I’m naturally quiet and reserved. It isn’t the kind of worship that will meet my need.’ What we must see is that the real question in worship is not, ‘What will meet my need?’ The real question is, ‘What kind of worship does God call for?’ It is clear that God calls for wholehearted worship. And it is as reasonable to expect wholehearted worship to be physical as to expect it to be cerebral.”
Mr. Foster goes on to say that many times, our reluctance to show our joy in worship is really rooted in our fear of being judged unfavorably by others. I must say, I have been guilty of these very fears. It’s not an easy thing to be different.
Once, when teaching Children’s church, I asked the kids who they thought was the most important person in the church. Most of them, if not all, said the Pastor. I quickly set them straight. Church is not for us, Dear Ones. It is for Him. Worship is our opportunity to praise Him, to express our wholehearted love, to cry out with our hearts in adoration!
When teaching children in my Sunday school classes to pray, I often tell them to pretend that Jesus is sitting in the chair in front of them and just talk to Him like a friend. Guess what?! Jesus is sitting in the chair in front of me! Jesus is in the sanctuary with me when I worship. I must not be afraid of what my neighbor thinks. There is One whose opinion matters so much more. My worship is only for Him.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men… “(Col. 3:23)

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