C’mon now… you gotta love it…
My official title is “Pastor of Worship & Arts.”
My primary function, and maybe my more common title, is “Worship Leader.”
I’m supposed to “Lead” people in worship.
I’m supposed to create moments where people from all walks of life can engage with the Creator.
I’m supposed to be the tool that the Spirit uses to guide God’s people into humbled hearts and authentic worship.
But yesterday, at The Grove, it was I who was led.
During our 3rd and final gathering of the morning, as the band powerfully played out “Glorious” by Paul Baloche, I looked out at the more than 350 people gathered together to see if they were “feeling what I was feeling,” if they were “going where I was going,” to see if “worship” was happening.
And as hundreds of voices belted out, “Oh – oh – oh – oh… You are Glorious!” this is what I saw:
- I saw a man who left a comfortable job to start his own business, but is struggling to make ends meet because of this decision, bowed in humble adoration, declaring that “God is Glorious.”
- I saw a woman who’s marriage is crumbling beneath her very feet, a world preparing for possible destruction, declaring that “God is Glorious”
- I saw people who I know are dealing with the loss of loved ones, worshiping their faces off, declaring that “God is Glorious.”
- I saw people who had just gotten back from Haiti, who’d seen destruction, death, chaos, fear, and brokenness firsthand, with their hands in the air declaring “God is Glorious.”
- I saw a man who doesn’t know what he believes, isn’t sure if Jesus is who he says he is, and can’t decide if “church” is for him, declaring “God is Glorious.”
- I saw a person who’s life has been forever altered because of a car wreck, never to return to the “way things were,” declaring “God is Glorious.”
And in that moment, as I was supposed to be “leading” the people in worship, I discovered that in reality THEY were leading ME.
I took inventory of my life and discovered that singing this lyric, “YOU are GLORIOUS” is relatively easy for me. What might stand in my way from acknowledging and proclaiming that God is a Glorious Being? Currently… not much.
But for these people, of whom I knew their stories, there is a lot standing in their way. Or at least, a lot that COULD stand in their way. And yet here they were, declaring “God is Glorious.”
And it didn’t make sense to me. And in some ways, it still doesn’t… and might not ever.
For that song, for that moment, the people of The Grove were showing ME what it meant to worship. What it means to realign our stories with God’s story. What it means to know that all of life might be screaming at you that God is most certainly NOT glorious, or at least not worthy of being CALLED glorious, but to do it and sing it anyways.
Through tears and a choked throat, I quietly thanked those in attendance at the 3rd gathering yesterday. I thanked them for leading me to the King. For showing me that our God is indeed Glorious.
I should say it more often, because it’s often true: Thank you people of The Grove for not only letting me lead you in worship each week, but for also leading me.
Just four days left until Brian McLaren’s newest book, “A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions that are Transforming the Faith” is released!
McLaren’s work (especially A New Kind of Christian, Generous Orthodoxy, and The Secret Message of Jesus) has been monumental to me in sifting through what it means to be a follower of Jesus. I’m indebted to his work and passion for seeing the Dream of God (aka, His Kingdom) be accomplished on earth as it is in Heaven.
I’m also grateful he got a new artist to design his cover… His last few have left much to be desired…
For more info on Brian, you can check out his blog here.
Last night, the first episode of the final season of LOST aired on ABC.
Last night, 12 million people tuned in with great excitement and anticpation.
Last night, the brain child of JJ Abrams, and the creative genius of Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse began it’s final chapter.
Last night was pure euphoric joy.
Over the past five years, LOST has touched a nerve with many viewers. For some, it’s the richly dense mythology. For some it’s the depth and beauty of the characters. For others it’s the way the story so meticulously plays out. And for the rest, it’s just plain fun.
However, many people after last night’s season 6 premiere found themselves further frustrated by the, quote, “lack of answers to the myriad of questions and puzzles LOST has built up over the past five years.”
If you watched, then you know what I’m talking about:
- A seeming dual-reality of the characters both “on the island” and “off the island.”
- A strange temple, with stranger temple people
- The “Man in Black” doubling as Locke AND Smokey
- The death and resurrection of Sayid (or is it?)
Rather than begin the process of unwinding the large string of yarn the writers have been weaving, they seemed to make the web even more difficult to untangle. And apparently this has got some people up in arms.
I, for one, am perfectly happy with more puzzle pieces being added to the already uber-complex 5000 piece puzzle, even if it means in the end there are some pieces that never make it in to the puzzle.
I’m an artist by many accounts, and so my brain is wired a little differently from a non-artist.
One artist friend I have, his name is Steve, writes plays and sketches.
I remember Steve writing a play one time and sharing it with me and some others. We offered some critique after reading through it, mostly centered around the fact that the “main point” wasn’t clear enough. He kept arguing that he didn’t want to “spell it out for everyone, and remove their obligation to have to think.”
Ultimately he DID end up making the script clearer, but not for the sake of “art,” rather for the sake that the play needed to communicate certain truths. In other words, it was more purpose-driven than art-driven.
But his argument has stuck with me.
And artists, for the most part, get this.
We don’t want to have to “explain” everything about our creation. We don’t want to spell it all out, and explain EXACTLY what we were thinking and what it all means.
Great art is open for multiple interpretations, regardless of what the original artist intends. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s good.
LOST, I believe is a 21st century work of art.
And as such, I feel less inclined to have to KNOW precisely what the writers MEAN about EVERYTHING.
For me, the journey is half (if not more) the fun. The puzzles, the mysteries, the plot twists and turns, are thrilling and addicting. And if, in the end, it doesn’t all work out the way I want it to, or things get left unresolved, I don’t think I’ll consider the past 6 years of watching LOST a “waste.”
Last night’s premiere blew my mind.
And I’m okay with half of it still scattered on my living room floor.
I’ll probably leave most of it there for the next 16 weeks, knowing that it won’t do any good to pick up it because it will be re-blown in seven days.
After the series finale on May 23rd I imagine I’ll need a day to recover. Partly because I’ll be in mourning at the conclusion of my 2nd favorite show of all time, and partly because my mind will be numb from trying to wrap it around all that the writers will ask me to.
So Damon and Carlton, if you read this, please know that at least one person will not cry “foul” if you don’t answer every question and solve every mystery.
Some things, like eating Mexican food and watching LOST, are better during the process than what comes out in the end.