“He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40:3)
Worship is uncomplicated when life runs steady as a stream gurgling peacefully through serene scenarios. When we lift our voices on Sunday mornings, dressed in our presentable selves, we may easily overlook the men and women around us hanging on for dear life. We are mistaken to assume their lot is an easy one. For many, the boat has capsized midstream, the current is raging round about, and they can hardly conceive of life in a safe harbor. Standing to worship is simply an act of obedience.
We sing the words printed across enormous screens and join the musicians in the popular Hillsong chorus: “Christ alone. Cornerstone. The weak made strong in the Savior’s love. Through it all, he is Lord. Lord of all.” Our brothers and sisters in the pews are generally “weak-made-strong” kind of people who are living inside those lyrics: the young bride fighting a debilitating illness; the widow whose eyes are always ready to let tears fall; the Jewish convert whose family has little use for him. Through it all, through every difficult curve, the Lord of all is pretty much all they can count on.
Seated across the aisle is a newly divorced businesswoman suited in strength and dignity. A few rows back is an unemployed gentleman carrying himself with distinction and expectation, his resume reading that the Lord is sufficient for right now. Nearby a young man is making his way through the slippery market place without compromising his integrity. Far more than words in a song, or music in their ear, this anthem carved out of Scripture tells us precisely how they are surviving.
Worshipping is always a grand idea, both in the middle of the mess, and when the upheaval is only a speck in the rear-view mirror. Praising side-by-side with men and women who belong to the Heavenly Father is reason to rejoice, to be compassionate, and to live out the lyrics to the tune and tempo he alone provides.
“Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue” (Psalm 66:16-17).
Elizabeth A. Mitchell
Photo: Paul Westel