In Bruce Larson’s commentary on the book of Luke, he shares this story. Apparently, there was a conference at a church in Omaha, Nebraska. It wasn’t the kind of church where folks shouted an occasional “amen” or raised their hands during the worship service.
So, to encourage more active participation, the people were given helium-filled balloons. They were told to release them at some point in the service when they felt like expressing the joy of the Lord.
All through the service, balloons ascended around the auditorium. But when it was over, at least one-third of the balloons were unreleased. People just sat there with the string and balloon in hand. They didn’t let their balloon go.
Contrast that scene with the one described in Nehemiah 12. The wall around Jerusalem has been rebuilt and the people of God want to dedicate it to Yahweh. Nehemiah arranges for two large choirs to stand up on the wall, on either side of the main gate.
The Bible says they “offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and the children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing could be heard FAR AWAY.”
Those folks knew how to let their balloons go!
So, this next Sunday (or maybe even at a mid-week service) think about your worship. Are you engaged? Is your mind and your heart flowing with the music? Are you in sync with the musicians? Are you considering the words and how they speak to your everyday life?
Do you know the songs well enough to close your eyes and just sing? Can you ignore the quality of your voice and just consider the subject of the song? Can you focus on the spiritual application of the music and overlook your concerns for home or work? Can you “get lost” in His love as the Spirit draws you into a connection with God?
Try it. Refresh your participation in the service. Let your balloon go and see if God doesn’t do an amazing work in your heart!
P.S. You can do it in your car too!