Friday, March 18, 2016

A HEART OF WORSHIP-by Heidi McLaughlin

How do daffodils and tulips know when it’s time to reveal their beautiful heads? How does the forsythia bush know when it's springtime? Why is there a glistening lake right between rows of rugged mountains? As I walk through the vineyards I am in awe of how springtime is emerging; splashed with colour and majesty from a long, cold sleep.  Surely there is someone in the background orchestrating this symphony of beauty. How can anyone believe there is no God?
            Last Monday after I finished my 5-kilometre walk, my spirit was refreshed and energized. My heart was full of gratefulness and reverence for our Creator and I realized I had spent the last fifty minutes worshipping God. Worship is not confined to a certain geographical location, building or a stage with a band and musical group.  I wonder if we will ever discover the full mystery of worship.

            When I was growing up it was important to polish our shoes, and have mother iron our Sunday best so that we could show up in church squeaky clean and ready to honour God.  Worship at that time was “dressing just right” and singing three stanzas out of a well used hymnal book.  In reverence to God we never talked out loud in the sanctuary and worship was quiet and solemn.

            Then came the guitars and next the drums were right on their heels. It was time to “get with the times” and make music to shout to the Lord with noisy expression. Sometimes it was so loud we forgot who God was because we were so busy putting our hands over our ears.  

            Today we have a Design Team that puts together a worship band, a carefully crafted stage and backdrop. After each song the audience (no longer called a congregation) claps. I often wonder. Who/what are we really worshipping? 

            This has caused me to look at my heart of worship.  I am in the middle of studying the Samaritan woman at the well who also had worship all wrong. She thought worship was to take place in the temple on Mount Gerizim.  A building. But Jesus gave her the good news that worship flows, not out of a building, but out of our hearts.  We are to worship the Father “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:19-24).

            God is spirit and our true worship to our Heavenly Father must flow out of our spirit. It is about engaging our whole heart with God. Acknowledging His greatness, His majesty. Worshipping in truth means acknowledging the truth about our great God. That He is our Jehovah-Jireh, the God who provides. That He is Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals. That He is the one who forgives our sins. He is the lover of our soul. He is our Father, our purpose, our passion, our redeemer, and our friend.  He is our everything!

            If it’s only about emotion, it is shallow and meaningless. After the band stops playing and the emotions wear off, we feel empty once again.  Then it probably hasn’t been about the heart of worship but about the thrill of the music and the song. But also, if it’s only about truth without love, it loses its power and passion. Worship needs both spirit and truth.  Oh that I may learn to worship with a pure heart. May this year be one of deeper worship, so that my heart is truly filled and God is glorified.
Heidi McLaughlin lives in the beautiful vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia. She is married to Pastor Jack and they have a wonderful, eclectic blended family of 5 children and 9 grandchildren. When Heidi is not working, she loves to curl up with a great book, or golf and laugh with her husband and special friends. You can reach her at:




Lux G. said...

I like that story about the Samaritan woman. And the teaching that Jesus shows. Worship should be a way of life, not just a Sunday thing.

Peter Black said...

Heidi, I'm right with you in this. Thank you for these timely and well-expressed reflections on the essence of worship from the Scripture. ~~+~~

Glynis said...

Oh Heidi. I read this over and over. Well said. I tweeted two wonderful quotes from here: ...worship flows, not out of a building, but out of our hearts." & "Worship is not confined to a certain geographical location, building or a stage with a band and musical group."

Positively brilliant and true and how the world needs to hear and understand these truths you have shared about worship, Heidi!

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