Has anyone noticed one of the things God is doing in worship is releasing joy, releasing songs that just glorify God, reflect God's nature and just lift him up? It's like God is releasing songs of celebration and jubilation that are just pouring out of the hearts of worshippers in a non-contrived and incredibly exuberant way.
If any of you caught the last set of OneThing 2012 at iHOP, you'll have seen Cory Asbury and team in the usual fun, cheeky, joyful and passionate selves... It was an awesome night and just made me feel alive in God, full of the joy of the Lord which is our strength (Nehemiah 8.10). Then there are songs like some coming out of Bethel and' God's Great Dancefloor' by Chris Tomlin and Martin Smith and many more.
One of my Great Aunts (or some relative somewhere!) was part of some 'holiness' movement. In many ways, this was great as God calls us to be holy as he was holy. But as ever with some of these movements, it all got a bit extreme as they took certain Bible verses and took them out of context. One of the things they did was only wear very dull, or black clothing. They didn't wear anything colourful!
But when I read Ezekiel 1, when I read Revelation 4. In fact when I look through the Bible period, I see incredible colours, amazing gemstones, rainbows, thunder, waters, lightning, fire, flames, clouds, signs in the skies and heavens, a colour-filled earth all around. And this is a fallen earth that is longing and groaning for the return of Jesus! Imagine what heaven, the new heavens and new earth will be like.
I say all this because this is the kind of colour of sound that God is releasing into worship. At my church recently there was a conga. It was (to be brutally honest) dire! But it's just a very polite and under-stated example of the kind of joy that heaven is releasing. The return of Jesus grows ever-closer and it's like all of heaven senses this!
Since the days of Jesus we've been in the 'last days' but the joy in song is a joy of expectation of Messiah. It's full-on praise to a glorious and awesome God who reigns. It's praising God for who he is. It's not taking our eyes off Him. It's lifting him up to the place he deserves.
One of the things that happens in my church is people come and give words. Very often these words detract from what God is doing. I'm passionate about worship where we all focus on Jesus. Worship is our response to God's revelation to us. It is one time that corporately we can come and gaze at Him, just as the eyes do in the throne room. As Stuart Greaves said at iHop OneThing, maybe there are all these eyes because there is so much of God to gaze on and see.
But this is the kind of worship I want to be part of. God-focused, God-exalting and joyful worship. We want to join in with the thousands of angels, the 24 elders and the company of heaven singing God's name, fame and God's song. Zephaniah 3.17 reminds us that God sings us, that he is in the centre of us, he takes great delight in us and sings over us. Lets join with God and see worship that reflects that sea of glass, the thunder and lightning, the sound of waters, the rainbow.
Let's join in harmony with the song that God is singing over us. Now that will be worship!