Last week, I smiled with eyes closed at the woman sing-shouting several rows behind me and across the aisle at church. Her honest, lung-filled offering grated on me at first - silently wishing she would find her place in the worship chord and slide in a little less loudly. Then, I smiled. Her sharp, wide-mouthed notes didn't irritate me less (growing up a musician's daughter has its drawbacks), but with eyes closed I imagined a different worship setting.
I imagined a crowd of people of all shapes and sizes and colors and tongues flooding a throne with an uproarious and joyful noise. I imagined new chords and instruments and I imagined that no individual voice could be identified. Every noise jumping out to make the song got swallowed up in the glory of the sound and there was a distinct awareness on the faces of the worshippers that the sound wouldn't be as beautiful if every single person was not singing.
I smiled because that prideful irritation got planted in me but Christ, in His grace, could uproot it and He did.
This morning as I was reading this reflection by Tony Reinke, my thoughts drifted back to that moment. Why do I guard the Sunday morning experience as if the music is for me? Not that the offering should not be excellent (like I said, I am a musician's daughter and it is not intolerant to say good music sounds different than bad music), because we should strive to make the best, most beautiful and joyful noise unto the Lord. Our praise offerings should be excellent.
But the Sunday morning experience, the behind the steering wheel radio experience, the living room stage experience and the robed choir experience should all make bold proclamation that the music is for a King seated on a throne. It might, but it doesn't have to please me.
I'll admit there are times when I have no audience but the cold air in my Civic, but I'm secretly more interested in my rendition of the Gungor song than I am in its object.
After showing several places in Scripture where Jesus sings, Reinke writes,
God is worshipped around the globe as a result of the all-sufficient work of the resurrected Christ. In this way, Jesus is the Perfect Worshipper of his Father. And from heaven he fulfills the role of Chief Worship Leader of the global church.
We are led in worship in the auditoriums and living rooms and driver's seats of cars by Christ who directed all praise to the Father.
What song is in your soul today? How is Christ leading you to join with Him in song? How can you forget yourself in worship?