Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
~Psalm 100 NLT
Do you go to church ready to worship the Lord with gladness? Do you come before Him singing with joy? Or do you have days, like I sometimes do, when you go to church just because it’s what you’ve always done, or what you’re supposed to do?
As I mentioned in the first blog post of this series, I believe God wants us to worship Him creatively. He wants us to approach worship with a heart open and ready to experience the presence of the Living God, in new and exciting ways. This can be scary for those of us brought up with one style of worship. I am the daughter of a retired United Methodist pastor and have been in the Methodist Church since I was an infant. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the phrases, “we’ve always done it like that” or “we’ve never done it that way before.” We are afraid of change. We aren’t sure what creative worship might look like.
First of all, worship doesn’t have to take place inside a sanctuary or chapel. Worship of our great Creator should happen more than once a week in a church building. Although I do believe that regular worship with a community of believers is vital, I don’t believe it’s the only way. We can worship God anywhere and anytime. Worship can happen around a campfire with friends, in a youth meeting, at a hospital bedside, in a car, on a street corner, at the beach, or any number of other places. We can train ourselves to see the ways God is revealing himself to us, and then take time to offer Him praises.
Second, we can be open to different styles of worship. Worship music has come in many forms throughout the history of our faith. Traditional music is wonderful, but sometimes when we do something the same away for too long, it loses the meaning it once had. Singing a new song, or singing an old one in a new way, can add spiritual depth to our worship. Experiencing some non-traditional worship elements, such as liturgical dance, clowns, skits, or puppets might help us hear God’s Word in a way we have not heard it before.
Third, even without changing the style of our worship, or adding anything new, we can have a new experience by approaching worship with a different attitude. We can enter His gates with praise and thanksgiving. We can really listen to the words in the liturgy. We can pray the prayers with our heart instead of our head. We can listen to the sermon with expectation; eager for an encounter with the Holy Spirit. We can come to worship ready for creative inspiration.
Whenever, and wherever, you worship our amazing Creator, I hope you will do so with a creative spirit and an expectant heart. Let us shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!