Flatline Worship

“How He Loves” by John Mark McMillan
If you’re familiar with this song, you’ll probably remember there’s a line in that people in the Church didn’t find quite…couth.

So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss…

I’d be willing to bet those words probably don’t quite sit well with you either. But, I’ve come to realize this is an indicator of a very sad reality. We can’t imagine a God, our Father, greeting us the way a father would upon reunion with his long-lost son or daughter. We far underestimate His love and our worship is a mirror of this tragic fact.

“Build Your Kingdom Here” by Rend Collective
Give this song a listen. What do you hear? I hear a headlong crashing of the gates of Heaven. I hear the earnest cry of a people desperate for God’s presence, to draw closer to the Father. It almost feels like a strain of worship erupting from a throng of people reaching a near raucous state. Most of all, it’s visceral and heartfelt. There’s little orchestration. It’s not measured and sterile. It’s real.

Bashing the Worship Leaders
No, I’m not criticizing anyone. I’m challenging everyone, however. We sing a lot of songs that sound beautiful a hundred/thousand/many thousands of voices strong. But, oftentimes when you drown out the noise, the worship falls flat. Why? There is no heart behind it all. Worship isn’t an extension of our joy in Christ, but merely a half-hour block of time allotted to standing and singing the songs everyone has come to know by heart. This, my friends, makes us no better than Cain. Our offering, though it appears to meet the requirements, is only for show, meaningless.

Hearts on Fire
What would it sound like for a church full of people to offer worship that sprung up like Old Faithful from the heart? What would that violent, possibly ugly, eruption look like? I guarantee it wouldn’t be as composed as our traditional worship today. But, any parent would know that the heartfelt finger paintings of a child are worth more than their weight in gold. Maybe we’ve forgotten to whom we’re singing. Maybe our hearts’ fires have been quenched by the extinguishing of the ravenous nature of God’s love in our minds. We’ve lost sight of God’s whelming love.

We, you and me, are God’s most beloved creation. Allow me to reiterate, we are God’s favorite part of all creation. If God, who is Love, loves us more than all else, how much are we loved? There aren’t words in any tongue that encompass this thought. We are loved with a love that surpasses the number of stars in the universe. Can we not muster a heartfelt, unabashed offering of worship to this great Father every once in a while? Is that too much? Do we really have a hard time imagining a God who loves us in this visceral way? We shouldn’t.