Worship -vs- Presence
Worship happens every day in every moment. It is always available for us to engage in. All of creation is crying out in worship and adoration to the Creator In the same way, our love for Christ should be reflected in a life of worship - seeking the LORD, serving others, and expressing the fruit of the Spirit. While daily worship is foundational to the Christian life, corporate prayer and worship through music both occupy unique spaces on the worship spectrum.
The corporate gathering often focuses on experiencing the presence of God. So what is this idea about presence? I would very simply describe the presence of God as the closeness of his Spirit. This presence of God has been described as a fire (Hebrews 12:29), a wind (John 3:8), a wave (Psalm 42:7), and a fragrance (2 Corinthians 2:14). To get technical, his in-dwelling presence became available to all who believe because of the resurrection of Christ and the sending of his Holy Spirt at Pentecost. Yet we see that the presence of God was nothing new through the many references to his presence in the story of Israel and the testimony of King David.
One thing is clear: worship and presence are divinely connected.
David writes in Psalm 96:9 (ESV), "Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness." In both corporate and secret place worship, it's so very important that we seek to worship in his presence. This morning I had an interesting conversation with a fellow staff member of my church. On the topic of presence we acknowledged that while we don't always experience God's presence that doesn't meant that it isn't always available. In fact, if we are believing sons and daughters of God, we can expect his presence to be with us always. Missing out on his presence is only a result of our wandering, often distracted hearts.
It is in the presence of Christ that we experience power and transformation. Quite literally, wherever God is we find healing, restoration, revelation, and beauty. In that thought, we should pursue his presence passionately and actively. I am challenged to more and more call upon him to send his presence. It is quite extraordinary that I could call on the Lord and ask to experience his presence and He would quickly respond. As a church culture we can quickly become overly passive in our pursuit of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
God is speaking and Moving.
In theological conversations that shy away from emotionalism, sensationalism, and over-produced worship experiences, there is often a lack of understanding, urgency, and awe for God's manifest presence. I don't know about you, but if the creator of the universe is actively speaking and leading his people in the earth, primarily in pursuit of love.relationship and secondly on mission for salvation and heaven on earth, I want to be engaged with this presence, voice, and wisdom as intimately as possible.
Again, I'll say that if God was holding back his wisdom and presence we would have an excuse for the mundane. But with a God who is constantly speaking, stirring, moving, roaring, we are called and commanded to seek, listen, and respond to him. I find that in worship I learn to be ready to respond to this presence in every moment.