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Posts Tagged ‘King David dancing’

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

When I read the above quote by Friedrich Nietzsche I was certain that it was an example of Luke 19:40, “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

4_dont-let-the-rocks-cry-out

Nietzsche, a brilliantly knowledgeable man who lived in Europe in the mid to late 1800’s, did not believe in absolute truth. Although born to parents who sought a life of faith with Christ (his father a Lutheran pastor), Friedrich believed that, “Christianity was from the beginning, essentially and fundamentally, life’s nausea and disgust with life, merely concealed behind, masked by, dressed up as, faith in “another” or “better” life (Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy). An atheist most of his life, Nietzsche is probably most known for the phrase, “God is dead,” which is included in a couple of his books.

The passage from Luke 19 is the story of Jesus entering into the city of Jerusalem on a donkey (much as his mother who rode into Bethlehem on one, carrying Him in her womb). The people thought that He would fulfill the hope that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once (v. 11).

As He came close to the city people were shouting”

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (v.38)

It is then that the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

They did not get it. Although, like Nietzsche ,they were probably very well educated, knowledgeable men, probably even men who were raised with the law, and the stories of generations past, they did not believe that Jesus was indeed who He said He was. They thought that the crowd, no doubt a large and loud crowd, were claiming Jesus as the royalty that the Pharisees did not believe was king.

They saw Jesus as a man, they did not see him as their Savior.

It reminds me of when the ark was being brought into Jerusalem. David, like this crowd hundreds of years later, could not contain his excitement that the ark of the covenant was coming into his holy city, it was coming … home. As David removed his royal robes, Michal (Saul’s daughter) was disgusted by David’s ‘unkingly’ public behavior.

Michal,

like the priests,

like Nietzsche

could not see how worth celebrating

the God of the promise,

the God of redemption,

the God of Creation.

Why David danced as the ark entered Jerusalem, and the crowds of people sang as Jesus entered the same was

simply

completely

sincerely

thanksgiving.

May the beautiful and great art of our singing and dancing always be with thanksgiving!

Otherwise,

the rocks will cry out!

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

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What is genuine worship, and how can we achieve it in our church? That was the final question to discuss at our church retreat this past weekend.

As our small group, among other small groups, discussed these questions I found myself needing to ponder more than to respond. So, I came home, and searched for what the Bible says about worship:

Psalms 29:2 “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.”

Psalms 95:6 “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!”

Psalms 99:5 “Exalt the LORD our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he!

Psalms 66:4 “All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.”

John 4:23-24 “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”

Mark 12 tells the story of the offerings being made at the temple. The wealthy gave large amounts, but a poor widow only gave two small coins. Jesus response to seeing this was “truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Her act of worship was one of faithfulness, and of sacrifice.

King David is remembered in 2 Samuel 6 for his leaping and dancing, animal sacrifices, and celebrating (possibly even naked) as the ark was brought into Jerusalem. When he was confronted by Michal, daughter of Saul, for his embarrassing public acts as a monarch, he said, “it was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.” (2 Samuel 6:21-22) His act of worship had nothing to do with special clothes, it had nothing to do with “tradition”, it had nothing to do with what others thought. His act of worship was for and before his Lord. He humbled himself, as King of Jerusalem, to acknowledge and worship the king who put him on the throne.

Worship is such a foundational part of my Christian life. It is not just a Sunday thing. It is not just a music thing. It is not just a corporate thing.

For me, worship is similar to how C. S. Lewis described his reason for prayer, “I pray worship because I can’t help myself. I pray worship because I’m helpless. I pray worship because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.” I do not believe God needs my worship, but He does require it of me, and I fade when I do not acknowledge and worship my Creator and Redeemer.

Alexander MacLaren said, “fruitful and acceptable worship begins before it begins.” I believe that for us to worship, corporately, and for it to be genuine, our worship of God must enter our churches with us. Corporate, church worship is not entertainment, it is the joining of individual worshipers in a common place, to worship a common God. For it to be genuine, corporately, it must be genuine, individually.

There is the true story of a church in England whose pastor believed that they had lost their way in worship, and “the way to get back to the heart would be to strip everything away.” So, this (brave) pastor asked the worship leadership to take a break. He then taught about worship, genuine worship. He taught them that they are not simply consumers of worship, but that they are the creators, the producers of it. Then he (Mike Pilavachi) asked, “when you come through the doors on a Sunday, what are you bringing as your offering to God?”

Then, he waited,
and waited,
and waited.

It got quiet.
It got awkward.
It got uncomfortable.

But, eventually, a most beautiful thing occurred …

spontaneous,
heartfelt,
sincere,

genuine worship.

In the form of prayers,
and scripture,
and a cappella singing,

the people began to BRING worship to the service, and it was genuine.

While this church was learning about worship, their worship leader, went home to the quiet of his bedroom, where he quickly, easily wrote a song of worship to his Lord. Like David dancing in the streets, this songwriter was simply sharing his worship to God, and God alone. It did get shared, and has probably been sung in the streets, as individual worshipers came to understand that genuine worship begins with a heart of worship.

“When the music fades,
all is stripped away, and I simply come
Longing just to bring something that’s of worth that will bless your heart…
I’m coming back to the heart of worship,
and it’s all about You, Jesus”
Matt Redman

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