I was driving to church on Sunday but was aware I had lots of things to do before church began. So I began to think I’ll miss some of the singing – and surely that’s not so bad in the scheme of things. After all lots of people come late to church every week. In fact one church I visited recently was about half full when it started but by the half way point it was full. So obviously half the people in that church didn’t think the singing in the opening part of the service mattered too much.
The Two Kinds of People
In my view there are two kinds of people. There are those who feel arriving 10 minutes late is still feel being on time. Then there are my type of people, who, believe being 5 minutes early is being on time. I’m not sure where you fit on that spectrum but I know it can be the cause of lots of disagreements in families. Don’t ask me how I know that! So, maybe some people are just late by habit.
The Trouble with Being Late
Now the trouble with being late for church is, for me, it’s missing the most important part. My church is a fairly open non traditional church and we normally begin with a short prayer or bible reading and then singing of two or three songs. My Japanese friends call this a “Karaoke time” since the words are projected on the screen and we all sing the same thing together. (Well most of us do!)
What Singing Does For Me.
Singing together not only helps me feel part of the group but the words point to something I think is vital to my life – the fact that I’m not in control of my world. I often think I am. I often act as if I am but the truth is I can’t control very much about my life at all. I can’t control what my wife or children think of me – though I can have some influence. I can’t control my health – I can only influence it. In fact everything about my life is really out of my control.
If you are thinking that’s not a good place to be, or that sort of belief will not be helpful – then I’m sorry but I think you are wrong! You see, I thought when I retired I’d have a great time – just like I did on holidays throughout my life. And that worked for a while. But then I woke up one morning and thought “what am I doing today?” When I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted to do, I did think about staying in bed but I knew that wouldn’t help. I know this is not just me because many blokes go through the same depressive period shortly after they retire. It’s OK for a while because it’s just like being on holidays but when that time is over, the truth sinks in that retirement is scary. Some spend most of the day in bed, some hide in their sheds and some just become grumpy old men. But there is a solution. You can find the solution if you are willing to admit that you can’t control most things in your life!
You see, if you are not in control, then who is? My belief says, there is a God and he is really in control of the world. He gives me the freedom to think I’m in control and even allows me to believe or not believe in Him but He is still in control. And if He is in control, and I’m still breathing, He has a plan for my life. He has things for me to achieve before my last breath. He has designed me to fill a role and I am the only one who can do what He has planned for my life.
What the Bible Says.
Now if you begin to search out what that plan is in the bible, fairly soon you will discover things like this…
Revelation 15:4 “Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
Psalm 29:2 “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to his name; worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness.”
The bible has many parts that tell us we should worship God. I found a dozen without really trying. So it’s easy to conclude a big part of my life must be worship. It’s part of who I was made to be. And if you don’t like worship, my advice is don’t go to heaven when you die, because that’s a lot of what you will do when you get there!
The question should be asked “is God so insecure that He needs our worship to make Him feel better?” The resounding answer is NO. Worship is for our benefit not His. Worship helps us see that the world is bigger than us. It focuses our attention on our smallness, in the scheme of things, but enables us to find a positive relationship with someone bigger than ourselves – someone who really is in control. Someone who has our best interests at heart. Someone who cares about who we are and what we are becoming.
Of course worship is only one part of God’s plan for our life and I’ll probably write some more about the other things I’ve discovered in due course but it is, at least, a good place to begin.
So, if you are not planning to go to church this coming Easter weekend, can I suggest you do go. If you are locked down you may need to stream a service. But you never know, you might just discover a purpose for your life. You might just discover someone who loves you with an everlasting love, no matter who you are or where you have been. And you might just find out that public singing is not a bad thing to do – even for Aussie men.