Last month we spent some time unpacking what it means to love our God with all our heart and soul, this month I want to continue that arc of thinking as we explore what it might mean to worship God with all of our mind and strength.
The term “mind” might be construed to mean a number of things: our brain, our personality, our subconscious, etc. When Scripture uses the term, however, it generally is in reference to our intellect. Specifically, it points to our ability to process information and consequently derive meaning from it. Knowledge, wisdom, truth, and the communication thereof are all at play when we refer to the mind.
If we are to love the Lord our God with all our mind, then we must speak rightly about Him in speech and symbolic act. Our songs must be theologically and biblically true, and must reflect accurately the character and actions of the God we love. Further, those truths which we proclaim must be communicated in culturally appropriate ways. If all our worship is truth-based, but nobody can either understand or relate to it, then we have failed to communicate it, and are prevented from loving Him with all our mind.
Bob Rognlien, author of Experiential Worship, writes that it should not be a surprise to find, “…when you use the mediums of communication of 100 years ago, or even 40 years ago, our people are unmoved. We are speaking a cultural language that our people do not understand.” He notes the current technologically-saturated, visual-driven, media culture we live in and concludes that, “We must seek more effective ways to engage the mind in worship.”
What about our strength? How are we to best worship God with all our strength? Well, not surprisingly, when the Bible refers to strength it is often in reference to the human trait of physicality. Thus, loving God with our strength simply means to express our great adoration for God via our physical human body.
It is interesting to note that the Hebrew and Greek terms for worship literally translate “to fall down prostrate before someone.” Rognlien notes that much modern worship is centered on the neck-up, but that ancient worship would more likely have involved the whole person. He points to the Psalms and highlights several passages where the psalmist invites the worshiper to express his love and adoration with the entirety of his person: “clap your hands” (47:1), “bow down in worship” (95:6), “lift up your hands” (134:1-2), and “praise his name with dancing” (149:3).
If we are to love the Lord with all our strength then we must be willing to break those mental barriers which prevent us from utilizing various forms of physical expression. This certainly doesn’t entail that we run up and down the aisle and hurdle pews in a state of excessive spiritual ecstasy, but it does mean that when prompted by the Spirit we do not hesitate to kneel before the Lord, or lie prostrate before His presence, or clap our hands, or lift high our hands in worship, or even (dare I say it) dance for joy because of His great love for us.
Here at Rose of Sharon we want our members to worship our God with all their mind and strength. To that end we are trying to do our part to not only offer spiritual worship which conveys the truth of who He is and what He has done, but to do so in ways which are culturally relevant. Likewise, we want you to feel the freedom to physically express with the whole of your person the love you have for our God. As I said last month, when it comes to worship we want you to be you, whatever that might mean.
Because we know that half-hearted worship reflects half-hearted love, we are constantly looking for ways to create an atmosphere where you can involve not only your will and your emotions, but your intellect and physical body as well. So, if you have ideas on how we can better accomplish this let us know. We would love to hear from you.
NEWS FOR MAY:
What a fantastic time we had with our preschool students and families on April 17th! A big thank you to everyone who came out to offer support for our children, and especially to those who had a part to play in making our time together such a success. If you missed this day, I encourage you to take a look at the video on our site, and mark your calendars for the next one!
A reminder that we will continue to meet during our regularly scheduled Wednesday rehearsal time (7:30 in the Worship Center) for the remainder of the Spring. If you are interested in joining our team, let me know. I would love to speak to you about worship here at ROSBC.
Finally, in an earlier edition of our church calendar we had planned to do our second annual ROSBC’s Got Talent show on May 22nd. Due to some unforeseen scheduling conflicts we have had to delay that show until sometime later in the summer. Stay tuned for new details and make plans now to submit your act!
Thank you all for making it such a blessing to lead worship here at Rose of Sharon!
In His Service,