fedex-logo  In a training video I recently viewed I heard Matt Pappa talk about letting our sight adjust in worship, so that we see God’s glory.  When we come into Christian worship we may need to let our eyes adjust such that we can see Jesus.  He noted that actions in which we participate during worship can aid that adjustment, and off-handedly he mentioned the “fake it ‘til you make it” notion.  Those who lead in corporate worship have a wonderful opportunity to call worshipers into activities of participation that offer aural and physical display of response to seeing Jesus.  Regardless of how we might feel on a given Sunday, entering into these participative activities of worship can help our eyes adjust to the vision needed to see the Lord, high and lifted up (Isaiah 6).  We may be helped into a posture by which we can better hear the Lord speak to us, respond to His call, and therefore depart to serve Him in a world that needs our Savior.  I like this metaphor of letting our eyes adjust to where we can see, kinda like when you step in or out of the bright sun.

Have you ever played those visual brain teasers where you are suppose to stare at a picture or drawing long enough to see something not immediately evident?  Some of these puzzles are pretty good pencil drawings, paintings, or other art forms.  Some companies, such as Tennessee’s #1 corporation, FedEx, have even utilized the “negative space” visual gimmick in their logo design.  While the FedEx orange and navy logo affixed on the usual white background is not exactly high art, look for the white arrow strategically located as a result of the way “E” and “X” come together.  If you are like me, once you see it, you will be unable to not see it again.  It has to do with how the brain treats the reversing of the edges of the letters in relation to background, or something.

On one hand I file this kind of thing under the category of “Things that make me go, ‘hmmmm!”  On the other hand, I am amazed at the complexity of the human brain, and quite curious as to how conscious repositioning of stimuli is accomplished.  Ultimately as a believer in a Creator God I am amazed at how He has made us.  As a worshiper, the more I contemplate the wonder of the inner workings of mind and body, and its effect on all of life in the world, I am compelled to praise the Creator who has made us.  Pondering occurrences in the natural world can bring me to worship the Lord.  Let me hasten to state that this sequence of linear reasoning is not the point, lest some misinterpret that worship is just a form of logical awareness.  The point I ask you to consider is the wonder even present in gaps of not-knowing.  Even in the above sequence, there are gaps between the “hmmm!” and the curious pondering, and the contemplative wonder, and the attribution of process to Creator God.  Should we not consider worship as unceasing, even when we may be less than acutely aware of its immediacy?  This may also speak to where we are in our emotional response.  When spiritual eyes are in process of adjusting we may not be especially emotive in response.  At the proverbial end of the day our faith rests in Christ alone.

When I attended The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky I doubled down on the study of music.  Under the tutelage of professors and other master musicians I pondered the use of theory, form and analysis, and schemes of poetic lyrics in works of musical geniuses, churchmen, and those who subjected the art of music to theological interpretation.  I sought to know how these disciplines would be applied in local church ministry to disseminate the gospel in people’s lives, as I also pondered what my part in the enterprise would be when ministry was fleshed out. There were times that it felt like too much too fast, and with a family to feed, I wanted to just make it through the classes, get my diploma framed, and get out into the “real world.”  But alas, even in those days there were immediate applications that had me staring at the “negative spaces” as it were.  I was not able to see exactly what was happening at the time, but rather lived in the “in-between” of factual stuff, pondering, and conscious knowing.  Looking back on it now, I believe the whole time I was growing.  My ability to see and hear were being adjusted, which caused more pondering, which at times lead to conscious worship.  I would posit that the in-between states are likewise worship.  I further believe this relates to how we might encourage persons in corporate worship, recognizing they may be in differing stages of fact-gathering, pondering, conscious worship awareness.  Part of our responsibility and joy as leaders is to aid in sight adjustment.  Encouraging worshipers to join in the actions of singing, lifting hands, reciting scripture together, bowing heads, kneeling, actively listening, and other forms of response are all part of the responsibility and privilege of those who lead in Christian worship.  Rather than thinking of ourselves as cheerleaders, perhaps we should think more as optometrist.

Explore posts in the same categories: Choir Ministry, Church Music, Congregational Singing, Leading Worship, Music Ministry, Singing Worship, Spiritual formation through singing, Worship Leaders, Worship Pastors, Worship Reminders, Worship theology, Worship thoughts, Youth Worship


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