Unashamed to Worship
For those of you who know me you know that I am a passionate person. I am passionate about my family, my children, my job, serving others and I am passionate about worship. Worship is something that makes me feel closer to God and it is a place where I can sing and praise Him and He will know that I am His. I guess I would say that my passion for worship started when I was very young. I grew up in a penecostal church surrounded by VERY passionate worshipers! I remember being a small child and hiding under the pew with my sister because we didn't understand why everyone was hollering and waving their hands all over the place. As we grew older we soon realized that this was an act of worship, sometimes a very loud and obnoxious act of worship, but to each his own I guess. I know that for most of my fellow parishioners they were sincere in their worship and they truly were "moved by the spirit." However, there were those who I felt were worshiping for show or maybe because they thought it was what the church expected of them. Regardless of their motives, I began to feel different in worship and there were times when I was in worship and I would be singing a hymn or a praise song and I would feel the Holy Spirit and I wanted to raise my hand up to God in praise, but I didn't. Why? I mean there were people all around me who were not only lifting their hands, but they were also yelling and speaking in tongues-so I am sure that my little ol' hand probably would have went unnoticed, right? Well, maybe unnoticed by those people around me but definitely not unnoticed by God. I was still very young in my faith and I was worried about what others would think of me if I raised my hands up in church....they might even think the same things about me that I was thinking about them?! Fast forward about 20 years and I am now an adult (for the most part:)) and I am in a worship service with my own daughter. We attend a Methodist church and it is quite a bit more conservative then the church of my youth. But just because it is more conservative that does not make their worship any less sincere; just different. So, there was a point in a praise song where I just felt led to raise my hand. so I did. I must of caught my daughter off guard because she quickly tried to grab my hand back down and whispered, "Mom, put your hand down, you are embarrassing me!" I wanted to reply that it probably wouldn't be the last time that I would embarrass her! But I just looked into her eyes and I saw all of the fear and uncertainty that I had felt when I was her age and I witnessed someone raising his/her hand in worship. I quietly told her that I was not trying to embarrass her and that it was ok. I don't think that she believed me because she just shook her head in disgust and scooted further down the pew, in the opposite direction. After church I asked her why did it embarrass her when I raised my hand in church? She said, "Because no one else is doing that!" I explained to her that just because no one else was doing it that didn't make it wrong, especially when it comes to worship. (I realize that this is the opposite of what we usually tell our children, "Just because others are doing it doesn't mean you should too!" that is another blog;) I told her when I raise my hand it makes me feel closer to God and I am proud to be a Christian and certain songs or bible verses move me more than others. She said, "Ok, but it is still embarrassing." Oh well, give her a few years and maybe she will feel differently. All of these experiences together made me think about how Jesus did things very differently from anyone that the disciples and others He taught, had ever met. It didn't make it wrong, it didn't make it better, it just made it different and it was done with sincerity and truth. In John 4:24 it says, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." I think that this is the point I am trying to make. Whether your worship is hand clapping, stomping and shouting or sitting in a silent prayer, as long as it is in the Spirit and true, then it is Unashamed Worship. If we are ashamed to worship how the Spirit leads us in our own churches, then what will we do (or not do) when we are out in the world? I feel that this is what is wrong with some of todays' Christians-they are so worried about offending someone or not fitting in that we sacrifice our "heart of worship" for the sake of giving in to the "norm" of society. So, to those of you that are unashamed to worship, no matter where you are I say, "Keep praisin' unashamed!" To those of you, including myself, who are still unsure of worship that may seem "out of the box" I say, "Start praisin' unashamed and be bold!" Jesus was unashamed to spread the Gospel, he was unashamed to tell those in authority that He was the Son of God, and He was unashamed to stand before all and be ridiculed and crucified to save our souls. We should be willing then to offer whatever we can in worship, song and praise to the one who was willing to give His own life so that we may be unashamed to worship!