Coming back to the heart of Who is worshipped
Let’s rewind to 1984, The release of the movie “Amadeus” received eight Academy Awards, including best picture. Directed by Milos Forman from a screenplay adaptation by Peter Shaffer, this story about noted composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is a richly intriguing drama and a celebration of the wonderful music created by Mozart. However, at its center was a rivalry and envy between composer Antonio Salieri and W.A. Mozart. Though there might have been some rivalry in real life, it was definitely more for sport. History tells us that Salieri was actually very caring toward the Mozart family after Wolfgang’s death, reportedly helping Franz Xaver, the youngest Mozart son, to start his own musical career.
Another great story of jealousy was written in Scripture, Esther to be exact. It was about a horrid government worker named Haman, and his desire to eliminate and entire race (the Hebrews) because of his jealousy of Uncle Mordecai. In the pages leading to his ironic and appropriate demise, we find Haman as prosperous, upwardly mobile, and on his way to great things – yet his constant obsession with having what Mordecai had (the love and admiration of the King) drove him to attempting genocide and ultimately his own execution.
We have nothing like that in the life of modern Missouri Baptists, but what I do see and hear sometimes is a lack of the celebration of thankfulness.
In our churches are some people who aren’t satisfied with the sounds in their sanctuary. Some young, some old, some are pastors, some are laity. People who are so caught up in how the quality of the offering of worship is to their ears – moreover, to their emotions – that they find what happens in their home places of worship as pabulum at best. This can be a precarious place to dwell.
I remember speaking with a new convert once. She had come to our church on a Sunday morning, and was overwhelmed by the spirit of worship – and made a profession of faith that day. She intimated that she fell in love with the worship, and the passion that overwhelmed her. I stated how wonderful that was, but then warned her of the dangers of seeking that feeling – each time – simply because that feeling is not for us, It’s for HIM. We must always come back to the heart of WHO is worshipped.
This past year, I stood in front of great throngs of worshippers, and enjoyed passionate worship from the edgiest to the most formal. However, the most intimate moment observing worship this year was from an elderly lady sitting in front of a small sanctuary, autoharp in lap, singing a homemade song to Jesus. At that moment there were only two in the room: The worshipper and her Jesus. As I write you, I promise that I get shivers when I think about it. It was simple, humble, and A NEW SONG!
Family, instead of wanting what another church has, let’s drink very deeply from the well that is given us. We can passionately pursue the “next thing” and also love the present when we realize the immense enormity of His power robed in the fathomless depth of His sweet love. (John Francis is the worship specialist for the Missouri Baptist Convention and produces MoWorship, a monthly worship podcast available at www.mobaptist.org/worship.)