Aug 4, 2003

Second verse, same as the first...

Yesterday I had far too much to say to actually remember all of it at once, so today is more of yesterday's story. Sunday morning my mind was still on the subject of legalism/freedom. In the morning service, we (the choir) sang a song called "Rise and Come Forth." It's a decent song, but not one that I would typically devote a whole post to, such as other songs I have mentioned. Most of the song is a call for the Church to rise up and be different because there is a dying world around us. The way I took it yesterday was that we need to be different from the world in that we shouldn't have "rules" that we expect people to follow in order to fit in. That's what legalism is. Like Laci said in her comment on yesterday's post, we've been forced into a mold for far too long, and it's time we break out of it. Sitting in the choir loft Sunday after Sunday, we stare out into the faces of the congregation, and nearly every week I wonder if any of them even have a clue how it feels to worship God. Their expressions are so stern and stoic. Granted I'm not an overly expressive worshipper, I still think you can usually tell by someone's face when they're really "experiencing" God. A line in the song says, "Loose them now and set them free through the blood of Calvary." When we got to that point, I just lost it. My lip quivered; my voice cut out; tears ran down my face. I wept for my church. "They have no idea," I thought to myself. "They're imprisoned by their own preconceived notions of worship. Set them free, God," I prayed as I attempted to sing. Singing was too much of a barrier, so I finally had to stop. Towards the end of the song I was encouraged by a 'LONE WORSHIPPER' in the front section. Actually, a woman and her husband. They are fairly new to our church, and I don't know them, but I see them week after week engaging in true worship. It's so encouraging. On one of the repeats of the chorus, "Church, rise and come forth," they stood to their feet with outstreched arms amidst the crowd of the seated. Eventually, by the last time through the chorus, with the big climatic ending drawing obviously closer, they had others join them in standing. But that's sort of typical... a few stand, "hey, that looks like a good idea," and others finally join in, but only when it's late enough in the song that they know they will not have very long to stand. I don't mean to make it sound as if I think those who stood later were insincere or anything; it's just that it seems they are the ones who are too afraid to branch out on their own in worship without someone else taking the first step for them. I am glad they stood. It would have been far easier (and possibly far more typical) for everyone else to remain seated and allow the two standers to feel completely isolated (not that those two are the type to care). So I am glad they joined in on that act of worship. It's just that I would love for more people in our church not to be afraid to do whatever it is that they need to do ON THEIR OWN. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."

I jotted down a note to myself during the service that said the following:
"If a worshipful life is a sweet fragrance to God, a life of legalistic bondage must be a rotting stench. Allow yourself to experience the freedom Christ has saved you to."

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