One little known fact about me is that I’m a movie buff. I’m not a movie buff in the sense that I can quote random factoids or name every actor in a certain movie. I may not know what film won the academy award for best picture which year, or know the history of a certain genre; But, I’m the type of movie buff who is drawn to any good story. I will watch any genre, and I will find the deeper themes and chew on them for hours, days, weeks and even years. I will return to films and process new concepts over and over. I will connect them to my life, and even more often, to my faith.
Tonight I saw “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Now, I am a Christian, but this is not a Christian review of the movie. I’m not going to tell you how family friendly it is, or what the content is, because there are a million other websites out there to tell you that. Instead, I want to use it as a starting point for a discussion about worship.
Worship you say? From a movie about the life of Freddie Mercury? How do you get that?
(there aren’t really any spoilers here, so feel free to read on even if you’ve not seen the film)
Towards the end of the movie, there is a long portion capturing Queen’s performance at Live Aid in 1985. In the scene, they are playing to thousands and thousands of people in person and on television. While watching it, I felt something rise in my chest. A deep, aching feeling of passion. Tears came to my eyes, though the scene wasn’t necessarily sad. I sat back and thought about the emotions that were being evoked in that moment. It was a feeling I have felt many times before, but not typically in this environment.
The feeling I felt was the same as I feel on a Sunday morning, eyes closed, worshipping Jesus while surrounded by my family (my church). The feeling was one of worship. In the movie, there were thousands of people steeped in an atmosphere of worship.
Now, we can debate on the object of worship in the film. Was it a man? An idea? Music?
I don’t really care to answer that, but rather, I would like to explore the call to worship that exists deep in the soul of every human. A call that must be answered, and when devoid of an adequate connection to the divine, tends to pour out into worship of other things, people, or concepts.
I believe in the nucleus of worship itself, God has placed the desire for connection. Worship, in it’s truest form is connection with the divine, while also connecting with the divine in those around us. It is community. It is souls joined together in mutual admiration of truth, in deep reverence for, and passion towards that which is greater than us.
Recently, in worship at church, this is the very thing God has been showing me. Many times I’ve found myself more in awe of the family around me than God while worshiping. At first I thought this was a bad thing, a sign that my focus was off. But, Jesus began to speak to me about the fact that He was revealing His heart to me. His heart for His people. My reveling in the community around me was still part of my worship of the Lord. I could feel Him and see Him in the faces to the right and left of me. Seeing faces in rapturous wonder, others with tears streaking down their skin, and still others in tight embrace, many speaking truth over another brother or sister. How could this not be worship? How could enjoying the presence of the Lord in the family around me not be the deepest heart of worship?
So, what is my point besides a meandering exploration of a fascinating spiritual concept? Well, it is simply to share that it is so much more than a concept. If we do not grasp the heart of worship, we will lose the opportunity to love others fully, and introduce them to the one who can love them best.
Worship opportunities lie all around us. Have you ever been to a sporting event? You’ve seen worship at work. Mutual admiration. Comradery. Exclamations of praise and passion. At atmosphere of worship permeates a stadium. Art shows. Concerts. Rallies. Worship opportunities lie outside of the church, and many times they are backed with much more passion and zeal than the church can begin to emulate.
If we cannot grasp the heart of worship as a people of Christ, how can we begin to ask others to worship with us? And, it is our hearts, open and vulnerable to those around us that opens an atmosphere of worship in a place. It is not standing in straight rows singing the same songs. Any children’s choir can do that. It is not perfectly tuned instruments and voices, with choreographed dance moves or facial expressions. It is open hearts. It is seeing the other. It is loving the person to your right, feeling gratitude well up for the person on your left. It is laying disagreements at the door and entering in to a family, and laying your heart bare for anyone to see.
That is worship. Caring more about the divine before you, than the dirt you’ve left behind you. It is recognizing that divine fingerprint in those you see. It is embracing love to the fullest degree.
So church, go worship today.