Caution: Life-Changing Worship May be Awkward
By Jon Nicol
I returned from a 7-day spiritual retreat Monday. The event focused on inner healing.
And I was long overdue.
While I’m still processing all that I experienced, one of the things that struck me was that how awkward it all was.
You’re Going to Pour That on Me? Really?
There were practices from other Christian traditions that were foreign and weird. I can tell you that for me, a lifetime evangelical protestant, to grip a crucifix while being sprinkled with holy water was a tad awkward. But after awhile, I began to welcome these different outward symbols and expressions of God’s inward work in my heart and soul.
Happy Hands Club
Our times of worship before the teaching weren’t musically polished or free from distractions, but they were powerful.
However, when the worship leader came out one day without her guitar and had us circle up for a worship dance, I was ready to make my own retreat. I felt like I was in the Happy Hands Club from Napoleon Dynamite.
But on one of the last days, we used dance to express the truth of Chris Tomlin’s “I Lift My Hands.” I found myself dropping my guard and finding significance in the expression. While I might not be ready to adopt it as the main form of worship expression in my church, I’m beginning to see the power of movement and dance.
But was it still awkward? Oh you betcha.
Then there was the level of honesty shared with each other in one-on-one sessions and small group meetings. Eventually that honest communication began to creep into our meal times, late night discussions and our worship sessions.
It was the first time I’ve ever experienced that level of Biblical community. But was it awkward getting there? Yes. And even painful at times.
I guess what I’m realizing is that God sometimes meets us in our ideal experiences – the kind that we create at conferences and special services and that looks so inviting in the full-color brochure pictures.
But sometimes God chooses to use the awkward and broken moments. The times we’re off our game, or out of it completely. And He might choose to speak and work through the strange and foreign, the stuff we assume is for that other brand of Christian.
Above all, He wants to us to experience Him within the context of authentic community. The kind you can’t get a from a small group curriculum or how-to book. God wants us to drink his grace in depths that can only be reached through raw and honest relationships.
I don’t know about yours, but my church’s worship doesn’t look much like this. But maybe someday it could.
And if had to guess, I’d say getting there just might be a tad awkward.
Question - What "awkward" experiences have led you to encounter God?
Post image: Michael Lorenzo Stock.xchange
June 27, 2012Tweet