Wednesday October 17, 2012
A college professor friend once told me that each person in the world should be allowed to use only six exclamation points in their life. Somehow that made sense to me, and I became a person who uses exclamation points sparingly.
This lack of exclamation points actually fits my personality, too. Generally speaking, I'm a pretty laid-back kind of person...my highs aren't too high and my lows aren't too low. My manner of writing – exclamation point free – is a reflection of a broader "even-ness" that is probably evident to most people who know me.
Lutherans relate to this well. It's part of our Lutheran legacy to be a bit stoic. We've all laughed at Pastor Greg's jokes about Lutherans' inability to raise our hands over our heads, and many of us have experienced a clumsy awkwardness when we encounter any form of worship that feels too enthusiastic.
But listen to these verses from Isaiah 12: 1 – 6 (The Message).
- God—yes God!—is my strength and song, best of all, my salvation! (v. 2)
- Call out his name. Ask him anything! (v. 4)
- Sing praise-songs to God. He's done it all! Let the whole earth know what he's done! (v. 5)
- Raise the roof! Sing your hearts out, O Zion! (v. 6)
Raise the roofs! Sing your hearts out! There is nothing laid back or low key about Isaiah's words, or his sentiment. He's definitely got his hands up in the air for this one...it's possible he's even pumping his fist. Maybe even standing on a chair. Isaiah is passionate about his message to the people of Judah. He tells a joyful story of God's mercy and compassion and he feels compelled to shout it from the rooftops.
All of this has me thinking about my own worship and the way my life and worship are (or perhaps are NOT) a reflection of my faith. I am richly blessed in more ways than I can count, with a loving and embracing God to thank for it. A God who has reached out to me in my own darkness and covered me entirely with His love and grace. A God who adores me and who, by His grace, is big enough to handle my doubts and misgivings. Praise be to God! He's done it all!
I could get used to this exuberant worship. It actually feels pretty good, though I don't think you'll notice me with my hands in the air at church any time soon.
Questions for Reflection:
- In what ways does your life truly express the extent of your joy in the face of God's unconditional and unlimited love?
- How do you respond when God calls you out of your comfort zone?
Prayer of Worship:
Yes, Indeed – God is my salvation! I trust – I won't be afraid. God – yes God! – is my strength and song, best of all, my salvation! Isaiah 12:2 (The Message) PRAISE BE TO GOD! Amen.