The other day I was spending some time with the Lord when I felt very much moved to worship. So I did.
I put on some worship music and just started singing and swaying as the presence of God grew all around me like a storm of love and peace.
Suddenly I heard the voice of the Lord in my heart. Why are you looking up?
I cracked one eye open and found it trained on the ceiling. I didn’t really know how to respond. I didn’t even realize I had been looking up.
I heard His voice again. Why are you reaching up with your hands?
Again, I just stood still as I became aware that my hands were indeed reaching up. I hadn’t even thought about it. I guess it was just habit or instinct or something else. Worship = head and hands up. What’s the problem?
The words and emotions of God were a warm breeze as they filled my heart. I’m right in front of you, He said. I’m all around you. Instead of looking up try looking straight ahead. And instead of reaching up try reaching straight out.
I lowered my head and saw the Lord standing in front of me. A smile spread across His face and His eyes, they were intensely captivating. Love and adoration poured out as if the containers had burst. I spent the rest of the time worshiping straight into those eyes. It was amazing!
I think there are probably many things that we do stemming from routine and repetition. Anyone growing up in church or even spending significant (or any) time there, probably participates in things they aren’t even aware of.
Lifting head and hands in worship for example. Why do we do that? Do you know why you do it? Logically it only makes sense to lift our heads and hands in worship to God if we believe God is somewhere above us.
Now the point of this blog is NOT to establish some weird new theology about how God doesn’t sit on a throne or isn’t ever above us at all. My hope is that we will begin to understand that God doesn’t have to stay there. I hope that we might begin to understand that God might not want to stay there. That what He wants is to be with those He adores. That when we worship Him He engages us.
This experience reminded me of a blog I wrote about God and worship. Does He sit on His throne and just bask in the praise from His people or does He engage us? Does He stay far off or does He want intimacy? Does He demand that we raise our eyes and reach up to touch Him or can we look straight and see Him, reach out and embrace Him?
Does He allow all that He is to prevent Him from coming down to us or is He willing to “…strip Himself of all privileges and rightful dignity, so as to assume the guise of a servant in that He became like men and was born a human being (Philippians 2:7).”
If you want to raise your hands and lift your eyes feel the freedom to do that. I’m not telling you it’s wrong. I’ve hand many incredible worship experiences with my arms raised as high as I could get them. Just consider that the throne we’re reaching out to might be empty because the Lord and King of all creation is standing right in front of us. Find His eyes!
**I understand that God is omnipotent and there is no reason why He can’t be on the throne and in front of us at the same time. But there is a larger principle at work here. The extravagant love He has for us often shatters the boxes we try to wrap around it**
Jesse and Kara Birkey
Jesse and Kara Birkey