Sunday was a really good service, as I shared in my Jonah realizations from yesterday.
And something else happened during the praise and worship portion of the service, that still makes me teary.
Let me give some back story.
I'm part of a denomination that easily slides into legalism. Just a fact. I'm not bashing it, I'm still a part of this denomination because I feel my pastor at my current church doesn't do this, and mainly, because he preaches the Bible, and that's what it's all about. But as a whole, this is what I've watched and struggled against myself all my life. Especially in the expression of worship.
I'm not charismatic. If you are, SWEET :) If you're not, SWEET :) Not the point here. I'm just pointing out to you that at my church, sometimes during the music, a few people might stand or raise their hands at a given point. It's a FEW in a very large congregation. Yet every time that happens, I think, good for you! You worship. You obey the Lord's prompting on your heart. It's not distracting to me, it's refreshing. (And sometimes it's me doing the standing and the lifting!)
Usually, it's the younger generation that will break out of the box first. Middle-aged or younger, I mean. When a few start it, usually, eventually, the rest of the congregation will stand too, even the ones with the huffy looks on their face, like they're standing simply because they don't want to be singled out as the only ones who aren't. (That's so tragic)
At the service Sunday, a really powerful song was sung by our praise team, about the blood of Christ. It was moving, to be sure. I was feeling it.
And out of the corner of my eye, an elderly man jumps to his feet. I mean, he doesn't just stand. He stands. Intentionally. And so quickly, I'm surprised he didn't hurt his knees. He was WORSHIPING. Had to be in his 70's at least. And the peace and joy and adoration on his face brought me to tears. He didn't care what anyone else thought. He didn't care if anyone else stood. He wouldn't have known anyway, his eyes were closed worshiping.
A few others did stand later, but not the entire crowd. Not even half. Maybe a third or fewer. I couldn't take my eyes off him, or stop the grin on my face. It was one of the coolest thing I've seen in a long time. Because not only did he stand, and stand first, and stand so purposefully, he rocked back and forth. He raised his hands and then lowered them and then clutched them to his chest like he just couldn't express his worship enough. He couldn't get it all out.
I've seen that in teenagers. I've seen that in women and even men in their 20's, maybe early 30's. The occasional middle aged worshiper.
But never in someone his age. Never in someone wearing a stuffy suit and careening straight out of that generation of legalism and always having to do "what's proper" instead of what God put on their heart.
It was beautiful.
I was talking to someone about this very thing earlier this week, and they said how they often feel like if they don't raise their hands to God in worship or express their heart physically in some way like that, they might explode! Yet they sometimes still hold back, because they fear they might distract others. People might look at them instead of worshiping God for themselves.
I see that point. Really I do. But even with such a noble motive, disobedience to God is disobedience to God. It's still letting what others think mean more to you than God's prompting or instruction or opinion.
Some people hold back for fear of what others think, in the sense of having a fear of being embarrassed. We wouldn't encourage that line of thinking, right? But holding back because of being worried what others think, even in the sense of not wanting to distract from the worship, is still holding back.
Look at David - he danced in the streets and his wife got TICKED off. But he didn't care. His heart was pure and he was praising God.
And so was this little old man in the stuffy suit. Who, despite those binding tweed sleeves, was the freest person in the room.
So what's your excuse?