Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010...10:15 am
A Different Kind of Singing
“Worship Christ, the newborn King!”
I had spent the past decade or so—more than 25% of my life and about 50% of my Christian life—immersed in music ministry (or “worship team”). Worshipping God with voice and instrument had been my driving passion, not only on Sunday mornings with the congregation but all the time.
I sang worship at Wednesday night rehearsals. I played worship behind the piano or guitar at home. I woke up in the mornings with a choir song in my head. I went to Sovereign Grace Ministries to download free lead sheets like Steve and Vikki Cook’s “I Come by the Blood.” I learned LilyPond so I could print out the songs I wrote. I learned a new instrument, and then another, and another. In the car I played CDs or tuned in to the Christian radio stations at high volume. Worship music was my life.
So when I heard they were hosting a women’s conference on worship, of course I went! On the first morning of the conference I prayed, “Father, if I have any inaccurate understandings about worship, please correct them—and if incomplete, please fill them in.”
God answered, for as I sat in my seat almost in the back row, I heard these words:
“Bowing your will is the deepest act of worship.”
Bowing . . . worship. Surrender . . . worship. “Not my will but Yours, God” . . . worship.
Yes, my understanding of worship had been incomplete. Worship is not limited to speaking or singing God’s praises. To truly worship (the deepest form, according to Mrs. Dillow), I must bow my will to God’s.
Worship is not just singing. Worship is surrender.
When I sing in a church service, microphone or drum sticks in hand, it is worship. Hands are raised in praise, or they come together, clapping the rhythm.
But this, too, is worship, and even more so:
When I want something very, very much but know that it’s not what God wants for me, and I say, “Yes, Father, I surrender to Your will,” it is worship.
When I want to avoid something very, very much but know that it is what God wants for me, and I say, “Father, I surrender to Your will and step that scary path,” it is worship.
A few days after this worship conference I sat at the lunch table, having had a good meal—just enough. But I made pumpkin cream cheese. Cream cheese being among my top five favorite things to eat, and gluttony being among my five biggest sin problems, I was in a trouble spot. I considered loading another piece of toast with a layer of cream cheese thicker than the toast that carried it—but remembered the words: Bowing your will is the deepest act of worship.
As I picked up the cream cheese lid and snapped it over the tub, I said aloud, “Lord, with this act, I worship you.”
This morning, I look ahead to a path He wants me to walk, a path unknown and a bit frightening. But if I am to worship, I will joyfully turn my feet firmly onto that path and take strides of faith. Those steps are the notes and rhythms of the deepest worship song.
The image of worship in my mind used to be that of people singing in rich harmonies, hands upraised, speaking Hallelujahs. Now another image of worship comes first: a surrendered soul bowing down—not only the knee but the soul and will completely bowed down.
Father, I worship You.