Emotion in Worship

Yesterday during worship, I asked, by a show of hands, who had recognized the voice of the Spirit of God this past week.  From those who raised their hands, I selected two to say how he and she had.  The first person mentioned that she recognized the voice of God’s Spirit through some reading of God’s written word this past week.  I won’t share with you what she said, but let it suffice, it could preach!  It was definitely a word from God.

The second person spoke of recognizing the the Spirit’s voice through people.  There was emotion connected with what he shared, so much, that he needed to compose himself before he could finish.  Last evening, I received an email from this gentleman, apologizing for losing control emotionally.

Here is how I responded to him:

“First, let me tell you that absolutely no apology is necessary.  Your gratefulness could not be contained and had to have release.  Your display of emotion was genuine and a direct result of how you have heard the voice of the Spirit of God through those around you.  For that I greatly rejoice.

 
Second, there are way too many times where the mindset exists which says that we are not to show any emotion in a worship setting.  I would ask, “Why not?”  I realize that there are those who might fake emotions so the focus is on him or her, but that wasn’t you yesterday or any day for that matter.  The focus was totally on what the Spirit of God had been doing through others for you.  
 
Maybe, just maybe, if we, like you did yesterday, allowed ourselves to share our emotions which come from interacting with the Spirit, the depth of our worship would be greater, the impact of it more powerful and the resulting transformation because of it, greater.  Emotions are part of God’s character and he placed them in us when he created us in his image.  Genuine displays of emotion reveal the depth of our relationship with God through his Spirit.
 
I can only speak for myself, but your display of emotion spoke powerfully to me.  Thank you for being willing to fully participate with the Spirit and this body yesterday.  It is my prayer that your emotional reactions to what the Spirit does continue to increase as your relationship and connection with him gets stronger each and every day as you recognize his voice.
 
Rejoice in him today!”
 
It has been my experience that much of the character of our worship is very stoic.  And while an individual may be experiencing emotion connected with worship, there is a pervasive attitude, an unspoken rule, that it is improper to demonstrate that emotion during the gathering.  How else can a lack of emotional display be explained?
 
Once again, as I said in that email, my response to those who would say demonstrations of emotion in this setting is improper is in the form of a question: “Why not?”  
 
God is a God of emotions!  Look through His written word; you’ll see God displaying emotions all over the place.  Look at His Living Word – Jesus; you see emotions being displayed all over the place.  I see Jesus rejoicing and celebrating.  I see him weeping over a lost city and a friend who had died.  I see him feeling and showing compassion and love to people.
 
In creating us in his image, God has given us emotions.  Why then is it deemed inappropriate somehow to demonstrate and share with each other emotion as we worship the one who created us with emotions in the first place?  Emotions speak to our spirit and is a very significant way the Spirit speaks to us and directs us.  To have the attitude or perspective, whether explicit or implicit, that showing of emotion is inappropriate in worship is, I believe, ungodly and goes against the way he created us.
 
So, as you interact with the Spirit this week, let him direct your emotions and allow your emotions to be involved in that interaction.  And then, at the next worship gathering, be willing to express those same emotions you experienced as when you interacted with the Spirit during the week.
 
He likes that.
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