One of the things that I appreciate most about my church is the time of worship. Not all Christian churches do this, but in ours, after (and sometimes during) the time of singing there is a time when everyone is encouraged to vocally praise God. It’s a time when I can speak out the things that I am so very grateful that God does, or just spend time listing some of the things God is as I reflect on those very things.
The fact is that I’ve come to love the act of praising God and find it a very powerful experience to be in a room full of people who are doing the same thing.
I didn’t always appreciate who God was. I used to view Him differently. The God I grew up with was in reality a man who had progressed to a much higher level than I had: a PhD so to speak when I was in, and lived among Kindergartners. His accomplishments were something I could achieve, although it’d take a lot of hard work and dedication to come close.
The Bible however, and God’s chosen people, saw God as something more: someone who was so amazing and so great that even to speak His name, or to spell it out in a way that we’d recognize it was to possibly blaspheme it. That’s why, in Hebrew Scripture we have a tetragram for the most sacred name of God: a series of consonants that we’re not sure exactly even how to pronounce. It’s also why those scribes who copied the Sacred Writings had to wash themselves and change their clothing every single time they inscribed those four sacred letters.
This God that they worshipped caused people to prostrate themselves in times of worship: not to just lift their hands in worship, like we do today, but also to fall fully down with their face pressed to the floor in worship.
The ancient Hebrews knew for instance that God was the Creator of the Universe. Because they understood this fact, and lived so closely to creation, they knew something of the immense force that had to be exerted to do that, and yet they knew too, that God—their God and my God, merely spoke and the world came into existence. He created the matter, and even though they didn’t understand atomic theory they instinctively knew that He created even the atoms and the very subatomic particles that held all of creation together. The God they worshipped had immense power, unlimited power, power beyond anything a man could ever imagine having.
It’s why I appreciate the time of worship our pastor gives us. You see it’s a time where, as a church, we can together appreciate the super, amazing, awe-inspiring power that is God. As we do that too, we see how that Power can and will be applied in my life. After all, the Power that created the universe can certainly take on my biggest problem, not to mention that of the lady in front of me who is hurting financially after her husband left her for another woman, or the one behind me who is burdened with family members who are struggling with addiction, or the one six rows back who has mental illness, and struggles to live independently from day to day.
And, yeah, even as I think about the various problems around me, and how God is going to act in each situation, the thought occurs to me that with such an awe-inspiring God, doesn’t it make sense that we’d be awe-struck worshippers? And, yeah, while we in the modern American church seldom see face-down-lying-on-the-ground awestruck worship, we sure feel it, and someday . .. . maybe. . . we should try it? One thing is certain, our God deserves it!