Worship from the beginning.

Hello friends,

As you may or may not be aware, I have this band that I play with every now and again. We are all in some way or another church workers who have decided to spend some of our free time by worshiping together, and leading the Pittsburgh area in some spirit filled and rock influenced worship.

We also have a ministry to each other, as some evenings just turn into lengthy conversations about what's going through our heads in terms of worship or church leadership or Pittsburgh sports. Last night we had one of those excellent conversations about the theology of worship, and I thought I'd share a little bit here.

Worship is exalting God, and proclaiming his goodness. Worship is saying "thank you" for the life giving sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Worship is enjoying the gift of life that God has granted us even now (as opposed to waiting until the day we die to enjoy God's goodness). When we realize all of that, we realize that worship absolutely can't begin unless we recognize our need for Grace.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, particularly in terms of giving grace to myself. I go through these cycles of thinking I can make it on my own, that my charm or my sense of humor or my talent for speaking can save me, that I am in control. And for a while it's going to feel like I'm actually in control, that things are on the right track. But eventually, I will unravel. I will come undone. I will be spent. And I will realize that I was lying to myself all along, and that I am nothing without Christ's ever-persuing love.

To talk about your need for grace always sounds a little morbid. Oh wretch that I am, that sort of thing. Quite the opposite, I realize every time that I get to this place that I am a broken vessel, but Christ's love pieces me back together. That's why I sing. That's why I get up in the morning and go to work. That's why I speak to teenagers. It's because Christ's love is alive in me, and it needs to get out and see the world without me getting in the way.

I don't know how to convince myself to stay in this frame of mind, rather than reverting back to this sort of "I can do it on my own" attitude that so frequently prevails in my life. I'm going to keep working on that. But for now, know that we are all sinners, even the best and most put together of us. But thanks be to God that Christ comes to us and offers his love unconditionally, no matter how many times we've been down this path before. His arms are open, and I could use a good embrace.