Clap your hands, all peoples!
Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared,
a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah
God has gone up with a shout,
the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm!
God reigns over the nations;
God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
he is highly exalted! Psalm 47
I have been to many churches in my journey as a missionary, to share the gospel and also to share testimonies of the things that God has done and is currently doing in the churches in our area of South India.
One of the things that always strikes me when I visit a church is the many different styles of worship. Some worship in different languages, praise in the native tongue of the worshippers. Some worship in a very traditional way, singing hymns written centuries ago. Some sing the various Maranatha-type choruses that were popular in the 80’s and 90’s. And, some worship with modern songs with the style of prophetic worship. Some churches stand, some clap and lift their hands to the heavens, some play tambourines or shofars, some dance, some wave flags, and some paint pictures.
Despite the style of worship, one thing remains the same…each person, each church is lifting their voices to praise the One True God, offering a part of themselves to the body of Christ, just like David did. Together we are all joined together in gratitude for all He has done – from creating us, to choosing us, to sending His Son to be a sacrifice on our behalf, to each specific thing He does every day for every one of His children.
I truly love corporate worship; it’s a chance to come together with other brothers and sisters in Christ and remember together God’s goodness and His faithfulness. There is something amazing that happens in my spirit when I hear many voices lifted in songs of praise and see figures worshipping through creative movement. It can usher me into His presence in such a way that it almost feels like I took an escalator into heaven. It has the potential to ready my heart for His healing touch, speaking into the places that feel dry and reminding me that He is always there.
I think that the hardest part of being a mom is that it has become a very rare occurrence for me to be able to fully participate in times of worship, either by myself or corporately. It seems as if when a song begins, that is precisely the moment when one of my little ones needs a drink, a snack, a diaper change, a referee… At this point in my motherhood journey, I haven’t yet figured out how to balance kids versus entering into worship. I haven’t yet figured out how to draw my children into the ‘adult’ worship effectively.
As a start, I am teaching them children’s songs, the ones I grew up on, like “Jesus Loves Me”, “Jesus Loves the Little Children”, and “This is the Day”. They also both really enjoy waving flags and making a joyful noise on toy instruments, but right now I realize that it is more about the fun than the praise. I hope as they grow their heart for worship grows too as they begin to feel God’s presence in the worship.
I know that this is a season, a time of learning for all of us, a chance to practice gratitude for God in many different ways. I know that each of us, over time, will move into new seasons of worship, and I look forward to the time when we can come together as a family to exult His name and honor our King.
Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.