GOD IS GOD, WE ARE NOT
How many times in ministry have we been faced with a difficult, if not impossible, situation, and been tempted to respond as if we have no limitations? The need of the world around us is not that we would be able to solve the problems, know the answers, and be there for every situation. Turns out we are created to be human. That is what God intended.
“…for you are dust and to dust you shall return.” (Gen 3:19)
The historic spiritual practice of observing the season of Lent through PRAYER AND fasting has served Christians as a means of identifying with Jesus in His suffering, and to help reconnect with the pangs of our humanity. While we know that our fasting, or giving up something, could never truly identify with the ultimate sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God, such practice can aid believers in moving toward a proper frame of mind and spiritual sensitivity so as to experience Christian growth in this important season of the Christian year.
Regular readers of this blog will know I tend to be reluctant to reference my personal journey in these matters, but this year’s Lenten season has yielded spiritual reminders for me that may benefit discussions about worship such that I feel compelled to offer these observations from my own Lenten reflections of recent days.
#1 – What I gave up: Initially, I determined to give up use of a certain artificial sweetener in my drinks – coffees and teas. Because I had a habbit of using the specific sugar substitute, I knew I would be daily reminded of my sacrificing its use, and felt that the absence of that particular taste with my morning and afternoon coffees might remind me to pray, read scripture, and feel in touch with my humanity.
#2 – What developed had much less to do with giving up artificial sweetener, and much more to do with what I took up – namely, the reading of scripture passages and books that focused my thoughts and attitudes on my relationship with Jesus.
In my personal journey I moved from the absence of a taste in my mouth to being reminded by that absence of my own humanity, and its desires. I was reading a book and related scriptures that plunged me to a simple reminder that I believe is at the center of the Lenten season focus. It was simply this, I AM NOT GOD!
While the Bible reminds me that I have been created in the image of God (Gen 1:26), it also reminds me that His ways are not my ways (Is 55:8). I am created with the possibility of being personal, willful, and loving, which are attributes of God, but I am also limited in power, knowledge, and where I am in time and space at any given mom. God is unlimited in these attributes.
What do these likenesses and limitations have to do with worship? My address is first toward the worship leadership in the church; namely the Worship Music Minister and the Pastor. We dare not imply that we can fix it all (omnipotent), know it all (omniscient), or be anywhere and everywhere for all (omnipresent). Acting as if we live without such limitations seems especially tempting for senior pastors. Worship Music Leaders face similar temptations, however, as they are called upon to create environments in which people experience an emotional buzz that points them toward thoughts about God (as if this were the point of gathered worship). Likewise, worship ministers are expected to miraculously “know it all,” especially when it comes to worship music application. We may be tempted to pretend as if this is the case, when what we need is to “glory in our weakness,” admitting our limitations and trust in the Holy Spirit.
The bottom line is this, we are not God! In worship leadership it is good to be humble, trusting the omnipotent God to provide for us, knowing full well that we cannot transform one life. It is important for us to place our trust in the omniscient God to speak to the hearts and lives of people, since He knows them better than they even know themselves, and better than we can even pretend to know them or the depth of their needs. As leaders we must accept the given limitations of our humanity, knowing we cannot be everywhere, but faithing the omnipresent God to be everywhere at all times.
We are human, God is God. Thanks be to God on both accounts!
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