Friday, January 16, 2015

"Why is that lady so loud?" An explanation of worship.

We were in church on Sunday morning and one of my boys leans over to me and says, "Mom, you know, you really are the loudest one here."

We attend City Harvest- a Spirit-filled non-denominational church - not quite considered holy roller church, with chandelier swinging, but definitely a big step from my Catholic up-bringing and a little bit "nontraditional." The Gospel is the center of course, with solid Bible focused  preaching. But the worship is my favorite.

And I think by now, most people know I feel that way.

In 1984 I was fifteen.  My favorite band was Duran Duran and I worshiped them.  I had every album, and every album memorized.  I cried at video releases.  I freaked out when I found a rare record.  I spent my money on music, memorabilia, and clothing that that mimicked their "new romantic" look.  I carved my name next to theirs in my desk.  I adored and loved them.  They were beautiful, bright, shining and perfect.

(They were also doing drugs, contracting STD's, and the total 80's party band.)

They came to town.  We waited hours in the snow to get front row seats.  FRONT ROW.  While dressed in our rather weather-ridiculous Durannie outfits.

The concert was amazing to my fifteen year old eyes.  I was on my feet the whole time.  Dancing.  Hands in the air.  Laughing.  Screaming and Crying - in total emotional raptures of teenage delight.  "I love you!"  I cried.  "Please love me," my heart wept desperately.

I was not a happy teenager.  At age two my mother was already struggling with my emotional high's and low's.  My parents divorce when I was six did not help.  Nor did Dad's getting remarried. I won't go into it now, but you might have thought I had ADD or Bi-Polar disorder.  I was emotional and somewhat destructive.  I truly believe that age two is a precursor to puberty.  My two year old issues did not go away at ten or twelve and by  age fifteen everything was amplified by ten.



When I became a Christian at sixteen - through a series of circumstances and coincidences that are really quite amazing and point directly to Holy Spirit involvement - it was a fierce, radical transformation.

 I cried, "I love you!" and Jesus responded, "I love you now.  I love you then.  I love you always, through anything." 

My previous worship experiences had set a standard.  How could I ever give Jesus less than I had given to mere men, who did drugs, lived wretched lives, and didn't know or care if I was alive?

Confessing Christ as my Lord and Savior from sin, repenting of my sin and the ugliness I felt deep inside me, and committing my life to follow Jesus did not FIX all those issues I had had when I was 2 and fifteen.  I did not radically change to become a perfect, rule following little robot. -  The issues were still there.



When Jesus was born he was born in a cave/barn filled with animals, greeted by people who were on the same level as today's homeless people - unwanted and often unbathed. His birth into that place did not change that place, that situation, those circumstances.  Even after His resurrection - the poor, hurting, corrupted and uncorrupted still existed.

So what did He give me?

He brought hope.  He brought love.  He brought:

"I love you now.  I love you then.  I love you always, through anything."

I am no longer the emotional, heart on her sleeve, feel everything out-loud kind of person - Not really.  My husband could tell you that.  My kids could tell you that.  Even my mom - who I recspent three weeks sharing teeny-tiny hotel rooms could tell you.  I am much more even tempered than in my teenage and young adult years.

But the one who LOVED me to His Death and Ressurection gets Everything I have to give, whether I have the energy or desire.    I know what my everything looks like, the standard was set long ago, and just because it is thirty years later, doesn't change that standard.  It doesn't change who Christ is.

Let me be baldly honest. It is not always easy to worship the way I worship.  It is often embarrassing in retrospect when I realize how loud I am being, or that I am not standing where I started standing, that everyone can hear me when I say something that makes no sense or sing the wrong words to a song.

 It's not some competition for me.  I don't particularly want attention. I know I don't have to be loud.  The Lord can always hear me at whatever volume.  I am responding to the presence of God in His House.  -  I get loud when I am worshiping in my own home too.

My emotional response to Him is Everything IN me.

 People thought I was out of control - and sometimes it has felt that way.

 I always sit in the front now so I am not singing into someones ear.

 Jesus is so very good.  I can almost see the Holy Spirit moving among us, inviting me to dance and be free, stirring the church, and God is so pleased by our response to Him - So I move, I sing, I shout, I dance, I kneel, I listen, I laugh, I cry. 

If the presence of God moves "rocks to cry out,"  It requires something quite a bit more of me.

The psalms ask for many types of worship responses.  None of them are, "stand still and sing quietly." 


And a standard was set in my being - long ago.







2 comments:

Anonymous said...

My beautiful, beautiful sister,

I have always known that your worship has been with abandon ... kinda like King David dancing in the street while clad in his undies ... and I have experienced more release in my worship because of you.

I did not know the history behind your worship and have found that it makes complete sense.

We gave Christ our broken lives, (a real dung heap in my case), and in return he gave us his very best. Embracing us, calling us his own, giving us a new name and an inheritance which the world knows of no match.

How can we keep silent!?!

I love you and I love entering his gates along side you.

Juana-Leigh

Teresa Arsenault said...

A beautiful and powerful testimony. Thank you for sharing your heart.
Blessing hugs,
Teresa