Psalm 95: 1-2
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
One of the ways we learn to be the people God intended us to be, is through worship.
James K A Smith argues that the 'liturgies' we regularly practise - meaning any structured pattern of behaviour we follow, in church or anywhere else - help shape who we are. These repeated patterns develop our characters by directing our desires towards something or someone. We become what we love, he argues.
The style of worship doesn't matter as much as the 'shape'. In worship, we are shaped to be people who gather with others. We develop habits of gratitude and praise. We learn that we must ask forgiveness and forgive others. We hear and respond to words which have shaped generations before us, but still mean something now. We offer something of ourselves in return. We pray for others and commit to helping them. We leave with an awareness of being blessed.
Psalm 95 ends with a somber warning not to harden ourselves towards God. Worship of any style done well - noisy or quiet; uplifting or challenging; disturbing or comforting - is about softening our hearts. It's about loosening up the impacted soil of our human weaknesses and allowing in the breath of God. If we are worshipping 'well', then slowly, but surely our characters are developed in ways that make us more like Christ.
Worship isn't about us. But it has a wonderful effect on us, if we open ourselves up to the transforming power, not just of habit and practice, but of God.
We praise you God,
because we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Yes, even me.
I was made to love and be loved,
however much I have muddied it along the way.
Lord, help me to know that I don't have to 'hold it all together'.
I'm not actually in charge of this project called life.
Mine is not the power
Mine is not the kingdom
Mine is not the glory.
I just have to turn up.
Turn to up to where people are gathered in your name
- in buildings, outside, online.
Turn up and join in.
Giving thanks at my iPad
Singing along with my phone
Blessed through my laptop.
Responding to the wireless Word.
I turn up, and turn to you,
and you filter out all that is
unnecessary, unhelpful, unhealthy.
My heart is clear
I make a joyful noise.