cookie cutters and cutting comments

A friend recently gave me a cd to listen to – one of original music taken directly from the Psalms. We had been chatting about the power and beauty of God’s words sung back to Him, and about the difference in our styles of worship. One of the greatest benefits of worship is the shift it brings into our atmosphere and into our hearts. It is truly life-giving and life-changing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how different people worship, and the opinions people have about what it should look like. Years ago, I remember a conversation in which I was told that one “cannot take the devil’s instrument (in this case an electric guitar) and make godly music.” He challenged my church’s use of drums and modern lyrics, and yet in his own church, they used a piano, which, of course, is also not an instrument used during the time the bible was written, and yet somehow it was more holy…

It struck me that his OPINION of what worship should look like, his own personal preference, clouded his ability to see the many facets and diversity of our God, and offered him a quite self-indulgent opportunity to elevate his revelation above mine. To elevate his church above mine.

How often do we choose to use our own framework and filter systems and apply them to the nature of God? And, then conversely, use that ideology to elevate ourselves above others in our belief in our own, or in our church’s, perfect revelation of what God looks like among us? If we were being honest, I am quite certain we can all bend that way to varying degrees.

People since the birth of Christ, have chosen to believe or not believe, see or not see, follow or not…based on our own preconceived ideas of how He “should” come, or what He “would” do, or not do. So much of our faith is still as man-made as those who made the idols back in the day, because honestly, our need to control and to understand, and to promote ourselves, often trumps our heart for truth.

What struck me this morning is that the Psalms were written by men. Inspired by God. Many of them were written by David, one whom so many strive to be, and the one God called a “man after His own heart.”  David wrote out of his time in prayer, his own personal journey, and his need to put into words the passion, and lack, he held in his heart. I am no theologian, but it would seem to me that if David followed God so closely, and he is one to model our own worship after, it only seems to follow that we should not be nearly as concerned about directly using David’s words, instruments, or particular format, but striving forever to be as honest and vulnerable as David was as he poured out his heart and love of the Father.

The bible is a blueprint for life, not a cookie cutter pattern into which we all must fit.

I wonder if the Christian church will ever get to a place where we fully embrace that we are each created in His image. In as many facets there are in the glorious face of God, how many more are in the diversity and richness of His people? There is no one way to worship, no one way to serve, but if we are all striving to be the best version of who He has designed us to be, and spend our freedom helping those around us find their way to His plan, how much more effective in our love could we be??

The bible says that others will “know us by our love.” I am quite certain that does not merely apply to those things which are seen by others, but at our core, by the very nature of how we view one another. The freedom we share. The passion we each bring as God stirs in our hearts.

Today, allow yourself time with your Lord. Create space to let Him bring you rest. Revelation. Peace. Conviction. Then express it in whatever way reflects who God made you to be. Whether it be in song, or prayer. In giving a gift or serving a stranger. Painting a picture, or jotting words on paper…allow your worship to be real. Authentic. In His reflection, in the way only YOU can…

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