Last weekend I had the gift to be able to attend the David Crowder Fantastical Church Music Conference in Waco, TX. It took me about three days to unpack our clothes and get our suitcases put back in their assigned spot. It has taken me a week to find the space to go through my notes and unpack what I took home in my heart. So in summary, suitcases are easier to unpack than 2 days of profound insight into worship. But profound insight is a more rewarding unpacking experience by far.
I have given it some thought and I think that the best way to write about it all is to give it to you in quotes and personal thoughts. So what you are really getting is what Leanne took away in her suitcase. Hope you don’t mind.
Regarding Worship: “Sing a song with some people who really believe it instead of just mouthing words & critiquing the guy at the front” ~Francis Chan
Well I know for certain that I am guilty of an occasional session of worship critique. What I thought was profound about what Francis Chan said what that he discussed Worship as something we do for God, not something that we do for us. Duh. I almost always go for me. I almost always focus on if I like the song, the delivery, who just walked in and who hasn’t walked in yet. Corporate worship can be a real struggle for me, me who is so easily distracted from God by social settings. And so the moments where I feel what I am singing and then actually relate it to using my lungs to tell the air how good God is are rare. Too rare. Worship is about God not my personal preferences. So maybe my best worship and exaltation happens when I am alone.
But here is the other key component: worship is about community. We gather to sing for a reason. What was so beautiful about this weekend was that it gave me a chance to be in a room with other people who has been stripped of their busyness and agenda and were given space to sing to God together. And believe it. And mean it. We were singing words and feeling them inside and then putting them out in the world to tell the truth about our God to the space around us. It seems like we have far too few moments where we realize that we aren’t the only ones. We aren’t the only ones striving, we aren’t the only ones struggling, we aren’t the only ones relating to God, there are thousands of us. And we can get together and sing something together and feel closer to each other and to God for it. And this is what God thinks is really good when it comes to worship. He sees our worship as “really good” and this is far more important than whether we had a good experience.
So yeah, that was Francis Chan.
And then there was Gungor, who sang instead of spoke.
They sang this:
All this Pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things out of us
I heard this for the first time sitting in the very back of the balcony in Waco Hall. And I cried because I knew again, I wasn’t the only one. So often on a Sunday I feel like I can go out and make the following week into something drastically different than the week before. I am going to reflect, rest, read, and truly be with people when I am with them. I’ll marvel at the beauty of a toddler learning to navigate her world. I’ll walk outside and be reminded of the beauty and steadfast love of God. And then Wednesday hits and I’m so often irritated with my life, dissatisfied and weary.
And then I’m reminded of Sunday, and how this week didn’t shape up as I wanted. There were fleeting moments of beauty, but more ungrateful discouragement than small wonderful moments of thankful reflection. But wait, he makes beautiful things out of, dust? And ground that has been longing to be tilled and cultivated can grow life? Yes. True. He does. He can. My life CAN change at all. Wow. Tears. Thanks God for bringing me here, not giving up on me. For waking up with me each morning at whatever time Noelle chooses and giving me another chance to open myself to you making my life into a beautiful thing.
That’s enough for now.