Engaging in Meaningful Worship

“I understand what’s it’s like to come to church first thing on a Sunday to be greeted by a guy up front with a guitar, smile, and ten cups of coffee streaming through his veins telling you it’s time to exercise your vocal chords for Jesus. I also understand that it’s not any easier to be the guy up there asking you to do it, with hundreds of blank faces staring back at you, eyes glazed over, and thoughts a million miles away. I understand what it’s like to sit in the pews while being led by a less than polished band, with out-of-tune instruments and pitchy vocalists, trying to engage in some sort of meaningful worship. I also understand what it’s like to be leading that same band, faced with the reality that all of those nagging elements are out of my control, and make it just as hard for me to engage in meaningful worship. Probably harder.

I think of passages in the Psalms where we’re admonished to “clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!” and wonder how that’s even possible some mornings, while in the same book we read “out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.” I’m reminded that true worship is our response to God despite the condition we’re in when we do it. We are feeble, imperfect human beings only able to offer faint praises some mornings. But the presence of the Lord is like an umbrella over us, encouraging and building us up through the faith of our fellow believers, so that on other mornings we are able to do the same for them.

At the end of the day, regardless of what side of the microphone we’re on, we’re all suffering from varying degrees of misdirection, and in desperate need of re-direction. We all come to church on Sunday faced with the dilemma of who we’ve been worshiping and whose kingdom we’ve been building all week. It’s that humble truth that causes me to once again remember what I’m called to do this morning: magnify the name of Christ, confess our desperate need for him, and sing the truths of the gospel with people who are far too consumed with themselves. Like me.

And through it all, the glory of God will be revealed to us as a light penetrating the darkness of our souls, where we will be “satisfied with his likeness” when we “behold his face in righteousness” (Psalm 17:15).

That I would learn this every day.”

-Ronnie Martin,