I have been listening to a talk given by Graham Cooke (www.grahamcooke.com) titled, “Creating Momentum in the Church.” One of the things he talks about is atmosphere. To get a church moving, the atmosphere needs to be changed. During worship, the environment and atmosphere should mirror that of the throne room. Because of that, we need to realize that we are not so much pursuing God’s presence as we are hosting him.
Imagine if we truly recognized and visualized God in our midst as we worshiped. How would that impact us? How would that change the way in which we worship. It makes me think of a couple of glimpses into the throne room we are given from passages of Scripture like Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4. In those scenes, the focus is totally on God. Cries of “Holy, holy, holy” are heard. In Isaiah 6, we are told that the sound of the voices crying, “Holy, holy, holy,” shook the doorposts and the thresholds. It was not timid worship!
It was also worship that generated a spontaneous response in those worshiping. The creatures in Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4 covered their eyes and their feet as they flew and offered praise to God. The 24 elders present fell down before God and worshiped and offered everything they had, including themselves, to him.
I know that a passage from I Corinthians talks about worship being done in “proper” and “ordered” fashion, but why is “proper” and “ordered” given the definition of a very conservative nature? If by “ordered” and “proper” God meant that there would never be any spontaneous cries of worship or spontaneous responses because of being in his presence, then why would he allow these creatures and the elders do what they did in worship in his throne room?
Momentum is lost when the emotional element of worship is lost which then makes the atmosphere of worship stagnant and oppressive. Worship should cause an emotional response in people because we do so in the presence of the Almighty God in all his splendor and glory. Unfortunately, it is far too often the case that the atmosphere of worship is dull and boring, stagnant and listless, void of emotion and life. I wonder if this type of worship is offensive to God. Since the type of worship to which he is accustom in his throne room is energetic and spontaneous, I’m thinking this type of worship too often offered on Sunday mornings most likely is offensive to him.
This past Sunday, we closed our worship by singing “Christ Arose!” If the words of that song can’t get our hearts pumping, our blood flowing, stir us in our souls and bring a high level of emotional excitement to us, then I’m not sure anything can. May our worship be a pleasing experience for our God.