I recently went to a Bethel Concert; they are a Christian band that knows how to bring the house down. It was at this beautiful theatre in New York City called, the Beacon Theatre. My friend had bought the ticket and invite me to join the group. I worked a lot of shifts that week and couldn’t wait to get out with my friends. I got a little dressed up. My hair was half up half down (this will be important later). Since I didn’t buy the ticket, I didn’t know where the seats were. But they were great seats! The front row of the Mezzanine and I was so excited to see this concert. About halfway into the first song I was a little nervous because the railing was low.
Believe it, or not Christian concerts are just as crazy as a Beyonce concert. The entire venue is loudly singing, dancing, hands in the air, emotional, vunerable, worshipping. I mean it’s intense. But I got this feeling that I needed to believe I wasn’t going to fall off. Because for a few songs I didn’t feel that way. My attention was on the fear and not about worship.
I was splitting my attention between fear for my life (I’m being dramatic) and how hot I was. My sleeves were getting in my way, and my hair was distracting. Finally, I decided it was time to get serious. I was going to put my hair up and worship without a safety net. In other words, I was going to make the distractions go away and give my all to God. Worship for me is where I take all of the pressure I feel in my life, and it all melts away. It’s the me and God moment. Focusing on the fullness of who Jesus is.
I recently went through growth track at my church, and a pamphlet described worship as “ the greatest expression of our thankfulness and gratitude and wonder.” Another section talked about how we are saved to worship. This stuck with me. One way to worship is singing and dancing. Another way to worship is how we live our lives. That worship isn’t one day a week. It is every single day that we wake up and choose to follow Jesus. That those moments we take to engage with people we do or don’t know is a form of worship.
A conviction I have had recently was to take the time I have to do what I can for people who need it. Last week, a woman was standing outside a subway station who was pregnant. She was asking for food. Most of the time I don’t engage. I thought about the popcorn I had in my bag and gave it to her. If I have the means to provide her with anything why wouldn’t I give it to her? A few days later a woman was standing outside a subway station asking for someone to give her a swipe so she can enter the subway. People kept passing and ignoring her. I thought to myself as I was exiting the subway station that my monthly card might work and it will cost me nothing but a few seconds to help this woman. I’m not telling you these stories for praise and recognition. Because nine times out of ten I usually don’t do things like this. These moments are Jesus moments.
Jesus prioritizes people. He healed, spoke with, and encouraged people all throughout his ministry. A way to worship Him is to engage with people. Actively take whatever means you have whether its food, time, money, or prayer and offer it up to someone else. Ignoring someone in need is easy. Believe it or not, it is also easy to engage so whatever fear holds us back from helping people let it go.
I was listening to a sermon from another local church here in New York City called, C3 Brooklyn. The sermon was about practicing Love. My favorite thing Pastor Filmore said was that the best thing about practice is that you can get better at it. Loving people is not always comfortable, receiving love is sometimes not natural, but does that me we shouldn't accept and give love?
It’s time to get serious. So pull your hair back, roll up your sleeves, and worship God without any hindrance. Worship through engagement of people you do and don’t know in your lives. There are a ton of excuses to say no to people. However, we are called to love people. So take those excuses and throw them off the balcony. Jesus doesn’t have time for them, and neither do you.
This is a call to love people without any inhibition.
"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"