Last Sunday our church had a prolonged worship service. There was virtually no preaching. The music team led us through a series of prayer concerns and we culminated our time together with communion.
Maybe because our corporate worship lasted longer than its usual 20 minutes, maybe because our senior pastor was on vacation and I was easily distracted or maybe because I was just curious…I spent a fair amount of that worship time looking around the auditorium. (Don’t judge me…it actually was a blessing!)
I was taking notes on how people worship as they sing. It was so fascinating and generally such an encouragement.
Although there were some detractors (like the young girl that just about rubbed the hair off her boyfriend’s neck and the preteens that seemed to have bladder control issues that necessitated repeated runs to the restroom), generally the men and women were participants not observers.
I was particularly struck watching men worship. Generally, they are less demonstrative, but you can tell when they really are “in to it.” One guy down front has an amazing sense of rhythm. He can sway and bounce and move to the beat almost as if he were on a dance floor. But he was clearly in the throne room and completely oblivious to anyone else in the auditorium.
On my left was a couple in their mid thirties. She was lost in her own expression of praise with her arms wide open and eyes closed. But her husband was more reserved. A hand would be raised every now and again. His eyes were open much of the time. His foot tapped a bit. But I noticed that when we were singing words of contrition he bowed his head. When we sang words of acceptance, he spread his hands and fingers out wide. When we sang words of submission, he placed his hand over his heart. He clinched his fist with the high notes of affirmation.
I noticed how much he cared. And he drew me into the worship with him.
I mention this to encourage you and I to be intentional about how we behave in corporate worship settings. I am not suggesting that we “perform.” It is definitely not a time to show off. But I wonder how many times our body language either encourages others or distracts them.
This might be a great week to consider that even in church, folks are watching.