June 2, 2015

Open for 2015 {Week 20}

Click here to get the low down on the "Open for 2015" weekly series.

This week at the beginning of our worship service, the pastor delivered the sad news of the unexpected and tragic death of a member of our church.  I had only spoken with this young man a couple of times, but it seemed like he was poised for major transition in his life, a move away from a dark past into a brighter future.

With the news, my heart felt like it was being squeezed.  His life was over.  His family and friends were - are - surely drowning in grief.

Then, we were called to worship, with some verses from Psalm 130: 
Out of the depths I have called to You, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice;
Let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.
If you, Lord, were to note what is done amiss,
Oh Lord, who could stand?
For there is forgiveness with you;
Therefore you shall be feared.

A few songs later we were singing lustily, in face of grief in our midst:

Christ alone, cornerstone
Weak made strong through the Saviour's love
Through the storm He is Lord, Lord of all

It almost took my breath away, singing He is Lord, Lord of all, with loss and grief and sorrow so nearby in my thoughts.

Yet the truth does not change because circumstances do.  As I sang, with faith and intensity, I believed it.  I believe it.  He is Lord of all. 

Keep breathing, keep singing, He is Lord, Lord of all.

You are in the grief, Lord.
You are near to the brokenhearted.

After that song a group of youths joined the church.  We celebrated and prayed for them as they took their membership vows.  Such a happy moment.  So many memories of my own confirmation Sunday and all the Lord had done in my life to keep me near Him since then!  What a blessing to be part of the body of Christ.

Tears were flowing only moments later as a Taiwanese student bid farewell to the congregation after a year of college here in the states.  She was loved and cared for by the college group and the whole congregation.  She is now a believer and returns home a changed person.  Tears of joy and tears of sorrow!  Christian good-byes are not eternal, but that doesn't make them any easier, does it?

I share all of these things from worship on Sunday, because I was reminded of the importance of always being OPEN to worship: all times,  all places, all circumstances.

That was one of the most emotionally raw services I have ever been a part of.  Corporately we mourned with those in mourning and rejoiced with those rejoicing, all before the Lord, the Lord of all!  Worship kept our feet grounded on the solid rock and held us together, rescuing us from either despair or arrogance.

He is Lord, Lord of all!

Time to take action:

Nothing major here today, it's too late for me to be too creative!  But when it comes to worship, I don't know that we need creativity as much as we need sincerity.  Give this song a listen, most of the lyrics are from the old hymn, My Hope is Built on Nothing Less.  Sing along.  Worship along.  Agree in your heart, no matter what circumstances you are in right now, that He is Lord, Lord of all.  Worship has the power to transform us!

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