Night of Worship Reflections

My Monday morning started off this way…Everyone slept in until 7:45am, which considering that I have two small children, is not something that happens often!  However, after reveling in the small triumph of getting to sleep in, I walked into my kitchen and in the 20 steps that it takes to go from my bedroom to the kitchen, something awful hit me.  My house was a mess.  Not a small mess either.  But the kind of mess that makes you sigh, scratch your head and wonder how you’ll get it all done when your list of things “to do” for the day did not include cleaning the house. Then I realized that the sniffles had made themselves present to all of those living under our roof.  Everyone was tired and worn out.  Yet, the next thing that popped into my mind brought a huge, ear to ear smile to my face.  Today, this very morning, despite the mess and the sniffles, my heart was FULL.  It is a wonderful, almost indescribable feeling to have your heart feel full, isn’t it?  But just so we’re on the same page about how my heart felt that morning, here is what Webster’s has to say about the word…

“Full” by definition is being completely filled; containing all that can be held, filled to utmost capacity.  I would even go so far to add that full by definition means full to “overflowing”…

Overflow by definition is to flow over, flood, inundate.  (Those of you reading this who live in the Nashville area know what it means when something overflows…as we witnessed during the historic May flood this year.)

For me, these two words, (overflow and full) have been hiding in my heart for a few months now as I had been planning Gracepointe’s first “Night of Worship”.  And as we came together Sunday evening, corporately worshipping the Lord, these two words did not disappoint. I literally felt the fullness and overflow of worship in its purest form.  It filled the room to capacity.  The sweet fullness that only comes when we, corporately, truly recognize the Spirit and then together praise and exalt HIM.  From the first word spoken our hearts were united.  Hearts that had a great anticipation and that were quietly listening for the Spirit.  It was worshipping in Spirit and in Truth…

William Temple says, “To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination with the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, and to devote the will to the purpose of God.”

Augustine says, “a Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot.”

Walt Whitman said, “After the seas are all crossed (as they seem already crossed), after the great captains and engineers have accomplished their work, after the noble inventors – after the scientists, the chemist, the geologist, ethnologist, FINALLY shall come the Poet.  Worthy that name.  The true son of God shall come, singing His songs.”

As we started the service Sunday night, you began joining us on the Hallelujah in “Our great God!” Then you continued to sing with full hearts and voices on “Marvelous Light”, “Sing to the King”, “Mighty Fortress”, and “Forever Reign”.  You listened and I pray you were reminded of God’s provision and comfort in “But Thou Oh Lord”. You sang joyfully on “Standing on the Promises” medley and listened and reflected during “I Will Praise Him.”  We all listened with expectancy for the day we will be united with Christ during “Glory”.  We watched as the video of a modern interpretation of the woman at the well’s story and knew it was our story as well.  We listened as God’s beauty and voice rang out clearly through the cello in one of the most intimate moments of the night. We listened and were all deeply moved by the reminder that “You are on our side”.  We opened our hearts to know that “our” included everyone, beginning with us, to the widow, orphan, wounded, poor, thief and whore.  We responded to Jesus individually.  We thought about the picture of Jesus sitting at the table of our hearts and inviting us to live life together. Then we responded during “Like Incense/Step by Step”  singing and proclaiming “Oh God You are MY God and I will ever praise You!”  Most meaningful and surprising to me was during the section of that song when we sang the oh’s – no lyric needed.  The room was full of people singing their song of praise with their hearts and mouths and hands uplifted.  Sometimes you don’t need a lyric because there are not enough words to articulate the overflow of your heart.  That was the moment.  We proclaimed His mystery in “Greatness of our God” and the assurance of His presence in “Never Let Go”  Finally we joined with what seemed all the angels, the saints who have gone before, the 2000 year old church, and the room to give the benediction of “How Great Thou Art”.  INDEED HE IS.

There is something special about not just being a part of such an amazing night – but to really know the people there with whom you shared such an amazing night with and therefore that made us not just “parts” but a whole.  To know the stories of triumph, pain, loneliness, cancer, job loss, hurts and trials.  To know these lives – full of brokenness and desire for more.  To know we are corporately choosing to lift up our heads, our voices, and our hearts together to God.  In doing so, we were all cohesively lifted.  I’m sure my heart will float back down and my life will dip a little below full eventually but that is why God gives us opportunities like last night.  I am thankful to ALL who made Sunday night what it was.  What a beautiful, corporate effort.  It can best be described with one word; FULL.