Saturday, January 17, 2009

Honest Worship

The dynamic of being a part of the worship team for me has been complicated.

First of all, I am a naturalist when it comes to art. I believe that the most beautiful and purest forms of art come from the depths of an individual's soul and that it cannot be synthesized or replicated. I also believe that it should not be produced for a public audience. It may be appreciated by others or celebrated, but never at its core purpose for the entertainment of others. If any of these elements are broken, then the outcome may be appreciated, but not as it would be at its truest form. Therefore, perfection plays only one role in art, that perfection lies in one's ability to be truly honest with oneself when creating it. There is no bad art or good art based on the lines of the drawing or the likeness of the picture to its reality. There is no bad writing or playing or music if you speak from your soul. Speak from your soul, and the raw simplistic openness is the personification of perfection.

However, more often than not, I have worshiped at some churches where the quality (or the lack thereof) in the musical department was pretty distracting to my personal worship experience within the congregation. Now, let me just state that I don't believe that congregation members should be coddled in their overall worship service experience. Just like children, I believe that Christians should be encouraged toward a state of strong and personally motivated interaction with God. However, if you are feeling that the you need to go to a quiet place other than church to better focus on God because of the individual on stage belting certain notes off key or because an instrument is growing louder and more obnoxious by the second I think that this could create certain aspect of one's worship experience that is not so beneficial.

When I first accepted the request to serve as a vocalist, I was very hard on myself because of the responsibilities that such a position carries, not to mention that anyone who really knows me also knows that I very shy and nervous when in front of a crowd of people. Despite my personality, the notion that still carries the most pressure for me is that I do not want to be responsible for distracting others from worship.

I love worship. On the spiritual gifts test, I have always scored high in it. Singing specifically is very sacred and the one act toward God that comes completely naturally to me. There's no disciplining myself to set aside time to do it like with reading the scriptures, or bringing myself back to focus on prayer, or forcing myself to be bold enough to go greet someone. Its like its a part of me. I go through withdrawals if I haven't had time or the opportunity to sing to the Lord. I feel stretched and pinched inside. So why has my attitude of late for something I love so much become cynical, cold and practical? I now think more about my performance and the performance of my fellow band members than actually enjoying worship.

I hate it. I know that this is not God's will for my life. This inappropriate perception also invites in other unwanted feelings such as jealously, criticism, competitiveness, and insecurity. I have to say right now, that I am desperately trying to get back to the heart of God. The heart of honest worship.

The Lord reminded me of a period in my life when my church family and even my husband and I were so divided on some issues and we were all taking sides. I was so hurt during that time and my center and purpose was shaken. I remember the Lord coming to me in the middle of all that pain and confusion. He simplified everything. He gave me a prayer to pray that turned to be my heart's cry. I prayed, "You are all that is good in me, in any of us, and I just want to be where You are." This prayer cleared my mind and gave me one burning desire. It was enough. I needed nothing else. I would go wherever, I would do whatever. I just wanted to be where He was.

When it comes down to it, this is why I sing. To be in Your presence. To always be where You are.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Strangest Thing...

Been hearing a lot of buzz about the strange weather we were having in our area on Wednesday this week. Well, I have to say that I agree and have my own version of it.

I was sitting at my computer in the sunroom of my apartment, studying for my TEAS retake. Now, my sunroom has two windows facing east and one window off to the side facing southwest. Well, the wind had obnoxiously been beating on the southwest facing window all day long. This dark cloud cap settled over everything, leaving only a thin line of the brighter horizon. After awhile I suddenly looked up from the computer because a torrent of rain was pelting the southwest window. Then, I looked out the east window and thought I was losing my mind! The sun was suddenly shinning and no rain at all. Southwest window: heavy rain. East window: nothing but sun. I ran outside to try and make since of things.

I will tell you that I have driven into a wall of rain before, but I have never been right on the line of a rain cloud. It was crazy. There might have been just a few drops of rain coming down just on the border of the line from the torrenting rain, but that was it. I mean as far as the eye could see out looking east, it was clear and nothing but rain looking toward the west.

Then looking east, two rainbows appear side by side. One was really bright and the other one a little paler. I had no idea other people had seen them too. Check out Chelsey's blog, she has some really nice pics of the rainbows.