Of Worship and Flooded Basements…

Just Thinking….

I had a most gracious and heart warming Facebook message the other day from a former student, who is active in his Jewish Temple. He mentioned that he had read my blogs and was thinking about worship in the Temple, and about whether it should be joyful and exuberant or solemn and majestic. Great question! Cary, I have thought about your comments a lot since I read them.

I think it should be both, as both aspects reflect God’s nature. Sometimes it may need to be more of one than another. There are times when I am heart broken, yet I go to worship a God of healing. His tender touch, his gentle ministering to my soul is what I receive at worship. There are times when I am overflowing with joy, and I go to worship a God of creation, sustanence and provision. Worship is what I bring to the altar in whatever state I may be. I heard once that I should give as much as I am, as much as I understand about God back to Him. Perhaps that sacrifice is the crux of worship.

Yesterday I went to worship weary. We had 7 inches of rain in less than an hour on Friday, and that was on top of several inches of rain earlier in the week which was on top of flooding for most of the summer. This time it was personal. The sewers backed up into our basement and flooded our possessions. We had a nice finished basement, which now is covered with black gunk. We worked until the early morning hours to get water out of the basement (not easy when water is gushing up the drain). A friend came over with 2 shop vacs and another dehumidifier to help. (That was God’s perfect timing, by the way, as we had reached a point of just wanting to give up.) We called the insurance company to see about coverage, and they told us to get a cleaning company in to do the clean up. So Service Master came on Saturday. They put in the industrial strength dehumidifiers and fans to thoroughly dry the basement and extracted more water from the carpet. Meanwhile, I was trying to take old vintage photos out of frames and drying the pictures (and crying over how they were damaged), and spreading out my teaching files to try and dry and salvage the papers, and opening books to dry, and sorting through the clothes, drapes, towels, and linens that had turned gray in the murky water. So Sunday found me weary of soul and body in worship.

The music was uplifting. Song after song reminded me that God was still in control, that He still cared about me. Times of prayer refreshed my heart. There was a special time of laying on hands on all who were teachers, to ask God’s blessing on us as we begin a new school year. As a teacher, I stood, and others gathered around me and touched me and asked God to be with me. It reminded me again how much He cares for every part of my life.

Then came the sermon. The pastor preached a powerful message on David, a man after God’s own heart. David was a leader, a ruler, and yet he encountered problems, and brought on some of his own problems. As I was following the Scripture, I couldn’t help but notice how David worshipped in 2 Samuel 5 and 6. All my recent thoughts about worship, and my recent flood experience began to find meaning here.

David worshipped with a vigorous passion. He wasn’t timid in coming before the Lord; he danced before the Lord with all his might (ch. 6). They played music before the Lord: all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals. Later in the chapter, there was shouting and the sound of the trumpet. (What’s a sistrum, anyway?)

David had sacrifice in his worship. He sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep. He offered burnt offerings and peace offernings. He also sacrificed of his own time and pride.

He gave blessings: He blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts. Late in chapter 6, he retuned to bless his household. He also gave; Chapter 6 reports that he distributed among all the people, among the whole multitude of Israel, both the women and the men, to everyone a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins.

David’s mood and attitude: In chapter 5 he inquired of the Lord, asking for direction in life. And it is reported there that the Lord answered. Then David, in obedience, did as the Lord told him. In chapter 6, it is reported that David was afraid of the Lord, waiting for the right time to bring the Ark of the Covenant to the city. When he was told it was the right time, it is reported that he brought it with gladness. David had an attitude of humility, of waiting on the Lord, and not rushing ahead. And he came with gladness.

What a guy! David is such an important role model for me. I love his approach to worship: waiting for the right time, having the right attitude, willling to sacrifice, willing to learn, willing to give and bless others, willing to vocally express his praise and thanksgiving. WORSHIP!!!!!!

Admittedly, others are not going to care for this. A tambourine in church? Excuse me, but that is not dignified. Sacrifice a fatted sheep? Excuse me, but what a mess. Shouting? Ummm….. we don’t do that. Ok. A bit of satire, maybe a smidge of sarcasm. And I know that things are different today. But doesn’t sacrifice involve a mess once in a while? It might not be blood on the altar, but I have other messes to turn over to God. And while our modern churches may not shake a tambourine and shout to the Lord, do we at least make a joyful noise? Do others around me know that I have a joyful heart? Towards the end of chapter 6, David was acosted by Michal, the daughter of Saul, who felt that he should not have been dancing before the Lord, that he was making a fool of himself, that he was undignified. David answered like this: “It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight.” David was willing to sacrifice the opinion of others for the joy of the Lord. May I also worship God with abandon!!!!!

I’m not sure if others knew that I had weariness of the soul, or that I found joy in worship yesterday or not. My weary heart just wanted to snug down. But David reminded me that I am to go out with joy. My worship experience should bring me through the weariness and fill my soul with God’s hope. So I gave the whole flooding experience to Him, and asked for His direction and His strength and His mercy, and His wisdom. And in His grace, the Lord began to minister to me. Worship: what a wonderful opportunity to give and to receive.

To God be the Glory….

Published on August 23, 2010 at 3:01 pm  Comments (1)  

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