Five other adults and I drove 17 teenagers to a concert in St. Charles. It's an annual event called Winter Jam. The Christian rock group New Song began this tradition I don't know how many years ago but our gang has been going for the last five. Last night the groups included: Skillet (b-a-d), Mandisa (GOOD!), Barlow girl (uh, a little off key), Mercy Me (mercy me, how long will they go on???), and Connersvinc (very decent). New Song also played. Needless to say it was L-O-U-D, lots of head-banging, heart-pounding, teeny-bopping (oh, I guess that's the wrong era) tunes. There were times of preaching (powerful) and a plug for HOLT International Adoption Services.
Now with my aging ears and not the best audio system, I couldn't hear very well, so I just sat there, clapping, tappin' my feet, and rockin' my head to the beat. I only knew one song from New Song and could recognize the tune of one Skillet melody (believe me these guys were - HORRIBLE - to my 47-year old ears!), but for the most part I couldn't understand I word. They could have been singing in Swahili and it would have been the same for me. But kids understood. And kids were worshiping.
It was a curious thing, knowing why people were worshiping, understanding their hearts but not understanding the words. I suppose I could have worshiped in my own way with a tune, a hymn in my head (Christ the Lord has Risen Today?) but I was more intrigued with observing than participating.
Two things struck me: 1) I need to get my hearing checked. Seriously. I have tinnitus and, of late, had to ask others to repeat their words to me. Seriously, I'm losing my hearing; and 2) what is it like when the events surrounding you are totally not understood either because of language barrier or outside the realm of one's experience. I felt like I had a hint of what the "outsiders" felt like on that day of Pentecost in Acts 2: watching believers worship, in many other languages, but not understanding.
When the "world", non-believers, if you will, sees the church worship with all her heart, soul, mind and strength, do they wonder? Is it foolishness? Does it matter how the world perceives the church? Should the church make herself attractive to the world or to the Lord? I think we will continue to look foolish (as Paul reminded us) in worship because it is against what the world says we should worship - self and toys for self. True worship is getting out of yourself and getting into God. It's not caring about what's happening in front or beside you but focusing your heart and mind in gratefulness to the Creator and Lord of one's life. It's letting God fill you so you will return thankfulness and awe. It's being mesmerized by the King of the universe who became like me so that I can be in relationship with Him. I saw that last night.
and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed,
and I will declare your greatness.
They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. Psalm 145:4-8