Knowing the completeness of what Jesus achieved on the Cross sometimes needs us to understand a little more about the way God feels. This imagined story tries to reveal something that underscores what everything is about.
A certain worship leader wanted to lift the worship level in his congregation, so God brought him up to heaven to show him some things. As the worship leader stood next to God, he was shown congregation after congregation worshipping God. And God scored each congregation. The scores were typically in the range from 3 to 5 with the occasional 6. It did not seem to make sense to the worship leader — many that he saw as good got low scores, but he was comforted that his own congregation got a 6. The 6 seemed low but at least it was at the top end of the scores being awarded.
All this seemed very puzzling and he wanted to ask what it all meant. Then God said, “I am going to open your ears to hear the worship in heaven.” Instantly the sound of 10,000 by 10,000 angels flooded his being. The exultation of God caused him to fall on his face and he was completely unable to respond to the majesty of his God now before him. So God asked him, “Do you know now why I brought you here?” Trembling, the worship leader said, “Oh my God, I am humbled before you. I could never lift my worship to rival what I hear now.” “My son”, said God, “In your mortal flesh you can never fully grasp My majesty, but you don’t yet know why I brought you here.”
Then God motioned with his hand — the chorus of heaven ceased and the worship leader saw another congregation singing. It seemed quite modest to look at, but slowly he started to hear their song. The worship leader realised that he could not hear the instruments, or the worship leader. Even the lyrics of the song were not evident, yet the song was exquisite. It was gentle and delicate and pure. It seemed like a filter had cut everything out that he understood as worship, yet left something that was the essence of worship. God said, “What you hear now is the sound of my children, singing as one, their thanks and adoration. I will silence all of heaven to hear this.”
The worship leader was ecstatic and he burst out, “That’s what I want! I want to be there, with them, singing as one with them.” And with this one comment, God returned him to earth, “Me too!”
Who am I to lecture you about worship? This is not a debate or a teaching. My heart echoes what I described. You either heard what I said or you did not.
My wife is a worship leader. My daughter is similarly gifted. The story is not about them but is exemplified in what I hear at home. When it’s my wife’s turn to lead, she starts a week or two before, picking some songs that seem to link together. Then, whenever there is a spare moment, I hear her on the piano. She is not a virtuoso on the keyboard but competent. Her voice is not a diva but the sound is beautiful. Her heart is just to sing and play until it flows without conscious effort. Then she knows that she is free to let the Holy Spirit lead her. Of course, He always was leading her, from the moment she started looking for a theme in the songs.
The sound fills my house and floats above the business of everything else. My computer is in the same room. Often I will just stop and listen. Sometimes my wife will ask me something about the songs, but I cannot answer because I am floating — just letting the sound wash over me. I did not hear any technical issues, so I am not any help to her. Towards the end of the week, the rest of the worship team come over for a practice. I just shut the door and keep an eye on the children. The sound does not entrance me now. There is a lot of noise with drums and guitars and multiple voices. My wife tries to tone them down and let each instrument and voice get its time of focus, but I don’t hear what I hear during the week.
When I hear her voice, clear and pure, supported by the simple melody and cords of the piano that flow from her fingers; not trying to be good but just flowing with the spirit; then I am blessed. My adoration and thanks flow to God, and every now and then I feel His presence and I weep as His goodness surrounds me.