Tonight was one of those throw away lessons. You know the kind I am talking about. We ended our ilife series last week and we have business meeting next week so I didn’t want to start anything new and I have a D-Now that I am speaking at on Friday so I didn’t have much time. I was just looking for something that wouldn’t suck. I decided early in the week to go with one of the talks from the D-Now so I wouldn’t have to do extra work. The other thought running through my head was to just sing and play games and let that be the whole night.
In the end I had a simple yet diverse evening planned that ended up being…being…I almost want to say magical, but that is too Disney, mystical is close, but if I really wanted to pick a word I would have to say worship. In the end, what you would have to say about it was that our evening was a time of worship.
If you want to hear about all that went on keep reading.
We played a few games (including a simple trust dive that I don’t do often, but I find very fun, and elbow tag, the greatest game ever!) And then we moved into the formal worship time.
We opened with a couple of songs. All through this part of worship (she was finished before I started talking) there was a lady in our church drawing a picture using chalk. She drew an abstract piece of people with their hands raised in praise. It was very, very cool. I can’t draw, but I a very visual worshiper. I love images in worship. I missed like 3 cues because I was watching her draw.
After the first 2 songs I presented a new performance poetry piece. (Check it out in the post Lord, Undo Me). Then I simply invited the students to worship how they wanted. I gave them 5 options: They could journal on the paper provided; they could draw on our praise art wall; they could go in the back and dance, move or pretty much do what they wanted; they could come to the front and pray; or they could do whatever else they felt like in worship as long as they didn’t disturb other people.
The screen played a loop of worship images while we played the Matt Redmond song "Facedown." I didn’t really get a chance to hang out because right at the beginning a student came up to talk to me about some issues about choosing God.
After the Facedown song we sang 2 more songs and I talked for about 15 minutes. Then we had what all Baptist love, an invitation.
I don’t know how or why it was worship, but I know it was. I have learned through many, many different gatherings that it isn’t what you have planned, and it isn’t what songs you are singing or what cool new thing you are trying. Worship happens because God reveals himself to us. Worship happens when we wake up to the fact that God really is around us and that He is worthy of praise.
Planning can create an atmosphere where worship can happen, but worship is all about God and not about us. It is because of His movement, and a gift directly from him, not from our efforts. Now maybe I can remember that the next time I feel mad at myself and like a looser because something didn’t work right.
I have to admit that it is the nights like tonight that really keep me going. I told a student tonight that when it comes to what I think are the big things in life God I rarely see God moving. I have never seen anyone miraculously healed, and I can’t explain why hurricanes take lives or parents die, but when I see students engaged in worship I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a God. I know that He moves and that he hears me when I pray. I don’t understand all that there to understand about Him, but it is nights like tonight that He reminds me that He is real.