I find myself more involved during worship now that I have kids. Peter Pan loves to sing at the top of his lungs ... even when the song is over. Yesterday, for example, he was so thrilled with worship that when silence pervaded the auditorium, Peter Pan's mischevious awe hollered out: "Woooah-hohohoho!"
To me it was the perfect ending to worship.
Can I challenge you? Watch children during worship on Sunday morning. I think they've got it right. I have a golden rule ... never shush your child during worship. Ok fine. If Peter Pan is jumping off the chair and yelling "KAMIKAZE!" I'd shush him... but his high-pitched, off-key rendition of "Thrive" is going to go through. And CoComo-Jo's out-of-place hand clapping during a slow version of Amazing Grace ... yep ... that's gonna go through too.
You see, I think as adults, we sometimes let the worship air fizzle from our balloons. Stand straight. Hands down, or cautiously lifted. Sing in tune or lower thy voice. Clap when appropriate. "Amen" in response to the pastor.
I don't think worship should be a free-for-all willy nilly either. I mean, let's face it, the woman racing up and down the aisles swinging her sweater over her head and yelling PRAISE JESUS might get a tad distracting. But the women in front of me with arms outstretched and head raised.... or the man behind me who's voice sounds like a bull belching into a megaphone? Beauty.
I was raised NORTHERN Baptist. There is a difference between Southern and Northern. As a Northern Baptist, you stand still, hold your breath, and at the most, close your eyes. Now, my church has grown leaps and bounds, but what's ingrained in me from childhood is still ingrained. This is why I love to watch my kids. Worship with respect is what I hope to teach them. That abandonment in worship, while being respectful in awe to Who we come before.
Yesterday, I had a moment of deja vu. Only this time it was with my daughter. She stood, clasping her Daddy's hand while partaking in worship. And it struck me. While these young ones come into worship with abandonment, they're also taking their cues from us adults. And not just the parents, but the adults around us. So when the man a row over gives them a stern look for clapping in the wrong spot, or mommy shushes them when their song raises volume over the proper level, it kills that spirit of worship.
So yesterday, I encouraged my children to sing. And they did. Boy did they sing. And they respected their surroundings. CoCo stood on her chair, yes, but so she could see. It made a huge difference. Her little mouth didn't stop moving in song. Peter Pan stood on his chair too and stunned his mother when his little hand rose in the air. Cause being a Northern Baptist I'm still not comfortable doing that myself...neither is Daddy ... so you're darn tootin' he learned that from watching ... YOU. That "other person" in the worshipping throng.
You are being watched by children. They learn to worship from you. Thank you for being an example, for bearing with the off-key warbles of a little boy, the shoe indents on the chair pad, and the "wooah-hohohoho!" at the end of the song. Thank you for raising your hand, when Mommy hasn't figured it out yet. Thank you for singing before the throne of God and setting an example for the future generations.
What's your favorite part of worship? Are you a quiet worshipper (like me), or a hand-raiser, or a ceiling raiser :)?
Jaime Wright -
Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader.Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :)
- Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency
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"The Cowgirl's Lasso", Coming 2016, Barbour Publishing