Friday, May 23, 2014

Freedom to Worship

As I dove into the bible this morning I was struck with the immensity of the privilege and freedom I have to worship the Lord.

Worship. The ability and willingness to let everything else go. Lift your hands, clear your mind, and stand in awe of the beauty of our Creator. The simple act of worship is an enormously powerful thing.

Most people think of worship as the music they hear on Sunday mornings. Beautiful voices singing powerful words and talented instruments intertwined in praise to the Lord is a glorious thing. (Especially when you are lucky enough to have an uber talented worship team like ours)  But those beautiful voices, the deep words of that song, and the harmony coming from those talented musicians take a back seat the heart of worship.

Webster's defines worship as : The act of showing respect and love for a god especially by praying with other people who believe in the same god : the act of worshipping God or a god"

Worship is not music. It is not the words I speak. It is simply laying this world aside and focusing on the One who is, who was, and who will always be. Opening our heart and clearing our mind. We think of worship as a Sunday thing but worship is not just a church thing, it is an every day thing. It is taking a moment to breath and mindfully and whole heartedly praise the Lord for his Love.
The spirit is heavily felt when we are in His presence with our family in Christ but there is an intimacy unlike any other in worshiping the Lord alone. It is a privilege. It is an honor.

It is a privilege and a freedom that I tend to take for granted and this afternoon that became painfully obvious as I came across this news article. It is about a woman who is 8 months pregnant who is currently residing in a jail cell with her 18 month old, with shackles around her ankles, because she refuses to renounce her Christian faith. Now, I don't do politics and won't bother with the likes of that nonsense but what struck me was this women's courageous and heart wrenching story. She has been sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging for standing strong in her faith and for marrying a Christian man.

She can not pick and choose weather she feels like going to church on Sunday. She is not free to worship openly. She has been denied the privilege that so many of us take for granted. She has risked her life for it. She has been sentenced to death for it.

In the back of my mind, I knew the world outside of our bubble included horror stories like this one. People with hardened hearts cause unthinkable havoc. I have become accustomed to tuning out the bad and focusing on the good in the world. Focusing on the good was not the problem, the problem I created was taking for granted what an amazing privilege I have. I have OPEN, PUBLIC, and INTIMATE relationship with the Lord. I do not fear for my life when I close my eyes to pray. I am given an amazing opportunity to raise my children to love the lord. I am able walk in to church on Sunday mornings and worship with my family in Christ. I am able to scream I LOVE JESUS without fear or persecution.

The hard truth is that we spend to much time worrying about petty things and not enough time reflecting on the enormous freedom we have.

What church should I go to?
What should I wear?
What if they play music I don't like?
What if I don't know the words?
What if I sing awfully?

People are dying to have the privileges we take for granted.

People are being persecuted and killed for their faith.

People are dying to protect our freedom to express our faith.

People are dying to have the privileges we take for granted.

Jesus died to give us these privileges.

So here is my plea to you and prayer for myself. As we go into this Memorial weekend. Honor those who've given their life so you can have yours. Be grateful for the freedom and privileges we have. Worship mindfully and whole heartedly with awe and reverence for the Lord. Worship with an intensity of those who can't, for those who thought it was worth dying for. Because He thought we worth dying for.

If you are looking for a place to worship this weekend, we would love to have you.


Carrie Sutherland said...

Thank you for this powerful reminder.

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