Free to Worship
by Jens Notstad
The transition was as beautiful as it was surprising, and all the better for it. Young Keaton had just finished the New Testament reading for the day’s worship service. He had been preparing all week, practicing tricky words and transitions. Now the moment had come, and he had done a good job. As he finished and the congregation responded with “Thanks be to God,” he let out a well-earned, if a bit voluminous, sigh of relief. A shower of laughter broke over the room, and we were reminded again: we are but children in our Father’s house.
When read (well) by a child, the words of Scripture have a special significance and impact – this must be God speaking, because the words coming out of this boy’s mouth are not those of a child. Your ears focus in on what is being said, not who is saying it. You notice things you wouldn’t otherwise, and sometimes it can be intimidating. The naked Word can be a terrifying thing. At Carthage College, as we have been learning how to worship together, how to teach our children and students how to enter into God’s presence, how to raise up on an altar on campus and light another beacon, we’re also learning how to be free in worship. Not a careless freedom that disdains authority and destroys innocence, but the true freedom of interacting with God’s immanence in reverence and humility. The freedom that makes you want to prostrate yourself and dance at the same time.
Here’s what one student, Becca has to say, “…I especially enjoy seeing who God appoints to come to these services because there always seem to be unexpected guests each time. I love seeing how God reminds me to be a child in his house every week and how comfortable I am just being myself and not worrying about the proper worship style. I can be me and worship my God freely and that is the best feeling ever. He’s really shown me a lot about my perception of church and how “conventional” I made it, when in reality, church can be anywhere a body of believers is. It doesn’t have to be in a formal setting with a leadership structure at all. It can just be the word of God, a few believers and a guitar :)”
Amen! And there is much more work to do, because there are many dark places where Christ’s light must shine. Another student, Ben, has put it better than I ever could, that faith on campus is about “.. being a soldier of God as in Ephesians. We must recognize that with a noble goal of sharing the flame we will also face opposition from man and from other forces. We must constantly put on the armor of God and know that no matter what, we must proceed forward. Everything is at stake….There is a new revival coming and I feel that Carthage is ready for this change.
Thanks be to God!!
May 17, 2016
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