Friday, July 26, 2013

The Worship of a Child

My little one loves to sing.  She loves to clap.  And she loves when we worship at church.

She stands on the chair with her hands held high, clapping wildly while the arms of others lay dormant at their sides.  She sings loudly and off-key when she can't even read the words, soliciting the glances of those around her.  And when the song ends and everyone sits, she breaks the still air with her eager inquiries - "mommy, can we sing more?"  And while my heart rejoices to hear her song, my fear of others can quickly take over.

My impulse is to quiet her.  Restrict her.  Sit in the back where we are out of sight from others.  Because what if she's a distraction?  What if others question my parenting? What about those who believe children should be "seen and not heard?"

And in the midst of my wrestling, I need the reminder that God commands our worship, and worship that is most pleasing is worship that delights in Him.   And my daughter delights.  She knows and enjoys the freedom of worship to her Creator that often I forget.

The Scriptures have much to say about orderly, intelligent, thoughtful, Christ-centered worship, which I do not want to forsake in an attempt to mimic my daughter's delight. I DO think we should understand the words we sing; and many times, thoughtful reflection is far more appropriate than boisterous singing.

But as her mother, I must encourage, not quiet, her worship and her delight.  Because when she worships, something significant happens.  Something eternal.  Something cosmic.

Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.
Psalm 8:2

Because for me, worship can become more about appearances and less about our posture.

More about fitting in than bowing down.

More about going through the motions than going to the Throne.

More about a making a beautiful sound than having a beautiful heart.

More about the people around me than the sole Recipient of my praise.

And these responses are what our Enemy longs for.

Because the Enemy longs for me to love myself, to love my comfort, and to crave the approval of man.  He delights when I take a service of worship to our Creator and turn it into a venue for self-glory and personal "feel good" gratification. He revels in hearts that grow cold, listless praise, self-focused harmonies.   But the songs of children stop Satan in his tracks.  Psalm 8 says that when children declare praise, the ENEMY is silenced.

For when I see hear the melodies of my child, when I see a child dance, as I listen to the babbles of the infant behind me, I am reminded of the glorious purpose of worship -- that God, in His infinite wisdom and glorious splendor, would stoop to rescue His helpless creatures.  And I am convicted of my shallow vision.  I am grieved by my self-focus.  And I am drawn to worship more fully.

The enemy is silenced.

And the King is lifted high.

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