The Heart of Worship
"When the music fades,
all stripped away, and I simply come.
Longing just to bring something that's of worth that will bless your heart."
- Matt Redman "The Heart of Worship"
Over 20 years ago, Matt Redman was the worship leader at Soul Survivor Church in Watford, England. The music at the church was cutting edge, the services were rockin, and young people (in their teens and 20s) flocked to the church. Sensing that something was "missing" in the midst of the music and fervor, Pastor Mike Pilavachi pulled the plug on the speakers, sound system, drums, and guitars. For a season, the "rockin" church went "unplugged." Pastor Mike explained to his congregation that they had lost their way in worship - lines had been blurred between worshipping God and the music/singers/band. He challenged everyone to gather not as consumers, but as worshippers - not seeking a performance, but offering a sacrifice. "When you come through the doors on a Sunday, what are you bringing as your offering to God?" - Pastor Mike Pilavachi Friends, we are in a season of stripped down services. For several weeks, including Holy Week & Easter Sunday, we will worship without a chancel choir, worship band, organ, and even sanctuary. All we have to offer God is the gift of ourselves. And yet, I am confident this is enough. We are enough. In the end, what God desires is us. There's no need for masks or pretenses. There's no need for brass bands and electric guitars. God loves us and longs for us just as we are. This reminds me of lyrics written by another song-writer, Charlotte Elliot, in 1835,
"Just as I am - without one plea.
But that Thy blood was shed for me. And that Thou bidst me come to Thee O Lamb of God, I come. I come."
Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, even in the midst of social distancing and online worship, let's thank God for the gift of TODAY. Let's praise God for the gift of EACH OTHER. Let's praise our Creator for the gentle snow that gently covers the landscape. Let's celebrate the gift of funny YouTube videos and family members, who make us to laugh until our tummy hurts. Most of all, let's give thanks for the gift of God's great love in Jesus Christ. I miss you all. Stay safe. We're in this together. We'll get through this together. Pastor Caleb