My eleventh and final post on topics ranging from holidays to the glory of a woman’s hair (and a man’s if it looks good!) to the pregnant girl who sat in front of me in senior English class.
You may have noticed if you’ve been following along this study in Luke 7 that the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet worshiped without music. Yet for most people, if you were to mention worship, music is the first thing that comes to mind. This is probably because the Bible does talk a lot about music in the context of worship. There were singers assigned to serve in the temple day and night, but they weren’t the only ones expected to worship.
Three and Out?
Acceptable worship to God is that which occupies the core of our lives, not just a few minutes each week. Three hymns and out isn’t the soul of our worship. It barely scratches the surface really. Worship involves appreciating God for his nature and his worth along with an awareness of his presence and guidance in all situations. I can worship God with my guitar or on the treadmill or playing with my kids or tending to brats on my BBQ grill (which made the treadmill necessary).
Worship isn’t something we add into our calendar as a set appointment or something we put on our checklist. Worship is our calendar. Worship is our to-do list. (It’s also our checkbook … or, debit cards. Who writes checks?) Everywhere we are and in everything we do we can worship God, or we can ignore him. If you need a particular style of music or crosses in view or altars or stained glass, then you’ve missed it.
There’s a great jazz standard composed by the prolific duo of Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers (also of Hammerstein fame) called “My Romance.”
My romance doesn’t have to have a moon in the sky
My romance doesn’t need a blue lagoon standing by
No month of May, no twinkling stars
No hideaway, no soft guitars …
My romance doesn’t need a thing but you
A moon in the sky helps, as does a blue lagoon (nice rhyme!). See, God paints breathtaking portraits in the sky every day, and when we notice we can be drawn to worship. In my toddler’s laughter, I can agree with God and praise him: “It is, behold, very good.” My girls still nuzzle up close at times, and I thank God for helping me to be the kind of dad they still want to cuddle with. And in the boy we’re adopting I can’t help being reminded of how God adopted me and what all that means for his future. My cup surely runs over.
Paying attention to God and gratitude is all that he requires. More than a song, we bring the gift of grateful presence—a simple being with God.
Sweetest Day, Anyone?
I want to mention briefly how holidays help in our worship. As a young family, we began observing birthdays and holidays of all varieties, whether Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day or certainly Christmas. We celebrate on these days the “joy of human love: brother, sister, parent, child,” as the hymn writer expressed it—“Lord of all to Thee we raise this, our hymn of grateful praise.”
Though holidays help us focus a little, we build our lives around worship, rather than making it just another activity in a busy schedule. Prayers before meals and bedtime and spontaneous occasions. Impromptu music at the piano, whether worship songs or selections from Fiddler on the Roof or a house favorite “Frim Fram Sauce.” Even the girls’ playing their hard-earned Nintendo Wii can be pleasing to God. (This might take place in the form of one apologizing to the other for being a poor sport and the gift of forgiveness granted and received. Beautiful!)
We give to Jesus gifts like the woman did. The heart of who we are and our deepest emotions, poured out like the woman’s tears. Perfume, costly and extravagant. (It may have also represented for the woman her past, when perhaps she would use it to entice men or to cover their scent when they’d left.) And the best we have to offer, like the glory of the woman’s hair, beautiful and intimate. We can, like she did, ignore pretense and worship with boldness.
The woman was used to scandal. She was accustomed to snickers and hushed voices. But when she—her sins forgiven and shame removed—worshiped her Savior, she really gave them something to talk about. They could continue to gossip about her, or they could see her as one dearly loved by Jesus
And something I’ve talked a lot about these past several weeks. Thanks for coming along with me. I’d love to hear back from you. Comment using a profile or anonymously.