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Other than not being able to hug our daughters, the greatest loss I have felt during this time of self isolation is corporate worship. I miss the unity, the feeling of being part of something bigger, something shared.

I have to say it has caused a longing to be with the church like nothing and never before. Truly my soul aches to raise my voice, along with other redeemed sinners, to the

God who created me for this purpose … to worship him.

This ache reminds me of the story behind the worship song Heart of Worship. Matt Redman tells of his pastor’s concern for what worship had become … the style, the volume, the worship leader, the songs.

“People were becoming consumers, instead of bringing an offering (to worship).” Matt Redman

The pastor introduced a worship service that was different … no sound system, no instruments, no plan … just come, with your Bible and whatever you can offer to God.

Out of that season in his church Redman wrote the lyrics to the Heart of Worship.

The other day I read a blog post that had me nodding in agreement with my own experiences of attempts to worship, corporately, from home, while attending the worship service online.

Carolyn Arends writes, in her post Virtual Realities :

“There are barriers to singing corporately over the internet. Maybe that tells us something important. … Right alongside the invitation to innovate (in a season of quarantine) is an invitation to ache – to let absence rekindle a holy fondness in our hearts for the things we’ve taken for granted.”

It is an ache … this holy longing to raise our voices together, physically. Perhaps it is an ache that we have needed to feel … a longing for what might have been missing even before self isolation in this time of Covid 19 … a longing for that which, perhaps for far too long, we have taken for granted … the gift of worshipping our God together, in community.

I find myself longing for that first day that we can, once again, raise, not just our voices, but our hearts as well in worship … to share our unity of purpose.

It makes me think of the chorus of the song, When We All Get to Heaven, written well over a hundred years ago, by Eliza Hewitt :

“When we all get to heaven,
what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus
we’ll sing and shout the victory.”

If I might be so bold as to re-write those words, for that first corporate worship experience that I (and others) are dreaming of :

When we all get back together
what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we’re reunited with followers of Jesus
we’ll get a glimpse of eternity.”

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When COVID 19 is conquered …

Our

Our silence will end in song.
Our songs sung in unison.
Our songs sung to Him.

Songs

I want to sing songs.
I want to sing songs of praise.
I want to sing songs of worship.

With

I want to sing with people.
I want to sing songs with the people.
I want to sing songs with His people.

Joy

I want to sing songs of joy.
I want to sing songs with joy.
I want to sing songs of joy.

For

I want to sing songs for me.
I want to sing songs for us.
I want to sing songs to Him.

Him

Our songs, with joy, for Him …

when COVID 19 is conquered.

 I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh, my soul rejoice!
Take joy my King
In what You hear
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear

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Do you sing in church?

It amazes me, when I look around on a Sunday morning, that so many people do not participate in the singing part of worship. Despite that fact that many people write or talk about the decreasing participation in the singing portion of worship (and often relate it to new, unfamiliar, difficult to sing, theology light worship songs) I don’t find that it has decreased since I was a child.

Some will say they do not sing because:

  • they do not know the songs
  • they do not like the songs
  • church people do not need to hear me sing

If we were to switch from the singing part of worship to the financial giving part of worship, would similar rationale be accepted?

I don’t give financially because:

  • I don’t know what my money is going to be used for
  • I don’t like what my money is going to be used for
  • the church does not need my money

Here’s the thing (and isn’t it always the thing?), whether it is our financial giving or singing in worship, it is never about us, me, my.

Our giving,
in worship
is not our offering,
but our returning to God
what he has given to us.

When we give financially, we are returning to God a portion of what he has given to us. When we give in song, we are returning to God a portion of our breath, our humility. In both cases, he has given us what we need, as an investment in our lives. We, in turn take his investment and multiply it, returning the dividends to him …

not because he needs it,
but because
we need to give it.

“The Savior has rescued us that we might sing the song of the redeemed. May we sing it well. May we sing it constantly. May we sing it passionately. May we sing it for his glory and the advancing of his gospel until the time comes when our songs will never end.” Bob Kauflin

“Let everything (everyone) that has breath
praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!”

Psalm 150:6

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