“Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel” (Psalm 22:3).
When I was in seminary, one of my favorite things to do was to go to Chapel. It was a special time for a few reasons.
First, there was great worship. But something I remember about the worship that stands out. It wasn’t great because of a style of music. We sang everything from the golden oldies to the newest contemporary music. Some songs I loved, some … not so much. But the worship was great because of the Spirit that was created by those attending the service. They showed up expecting to meet God, and they acted accordingly. When the congregation sang, they weren’t simply singing, they were telling God how much they loved Him and how great He is. As a result, the Spirit was there and we worshiped Him.
Second, there was always really good preaching, and I was always blessed by the message. But I think I was blessed because every time I entered the sanctuary I wanted to hear what the Lord had to say to me. The best thing about it was that I was never disappointed. I came with an ear to hear, and I left with a Word from God. It’s funny how God can use one message and speak to so many people and still meet them where they are.
Third, there was always a response to God’s Word. Never did a service go by without someone (usually many) responding publically to God’s message. The thing that was so moving was that because people were eager to hear and respond, God was faithful to move in the lives of everyone there. His Spirit would sweep through that sanctuary and I would always have an encounter with God. In fact, it seemed that the only way to avoid an encounter was to not be there. On the days (and they were few) that I could not be there, I always felt like I was missing out. And I was.
Every time I left that sanctuary I was both filled and satisfied. It’s interesting to note that I had many “needs” in those days. Although the messages were not related to any of my “felt needs,” God always filled me and met my needs. I suspect that was so because the purpose of worship is not me and my needs, but God and His glory.
Worship is ultimately about Him. When He is the focus, the subject and object of worship, then satisfaction, peace, joy, fulfillment, and love are the results in the hearts of the worshippers. When I made it my goal to make it all about Him, then He made it possible for me to be complete in Him.
God wants that for ever member of His church. But only you can condition your heart to meet Him. Only you can have the anticipation necessary. Only you can tell God how much you love Him and how great He is. Only you can have an ear to hear. Only you can choose to respond. Only you can choose to worship. When your spirit is prepared for and anticipating a meeting with God, then you will discover the joy of meeting God. Have you met Him lately?