Bargain store sandals clapped along the marble walkway, echoing off the stone columns as I made my way. Sticky palms gripped the music as I worried about being denied acceptance. Then I saw her. Calling to me like an angel itself: The black grand piano on center stage in this majestic college chapel.
I slipped in a pew half way as I tried patiently to wait my turn. The man behind the keys now was classically trained, I could tell. He didn’t miss a beat while he played every arpeggio I’ve ever attempted. Memorized no less.
Fear found me as the panel of professors found him lacking. Said they would have to collaborate and get back to him on what path of instruction would be available to him.
Then my name was called. Me. Days into my 18 year-old frame. One more self-taught than trained, not having lessons in years. And I was being asked to prove myself worthy of a program they held in highest regard.
With a quick prayer I made my way to center stage and swiftly sat in the velvet-padded bench before her. My fingertips graced the ivories without sound as I became familiar with her touch. That’s when I decided. To delight in the experience of playing one so grand. Even if it was just this once. For Him.
Unlike the students before me, I had chosen to play a few hymns I had composed as a medley. I assumed that decision, neglecting to play a classical piece, would be my demise. Still, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I was going to savor every moment.
With one quick prayer, I was ready to begin:
“Father, thank You for bringing me this far. This one’s for You…”
Fear escaped with each press of my fingers. My shoulders relaxed when I finally let myself go. And my heart declared the words of these hymns — those I had written in the margins of my score.
Friends, I laid it all out that day. And for the first time in my life I had found it: Worship.
My sandals slapped the marble once again as I left, acceptance in hand. Anticipating my mother and cousin waiting around the bend. And when I saw them I realized they felt my time of worship, too. One sitting on the edge of her seat, anxious to hear all about it. The other undone. With tear-stained cheeks. Had worshiped with me another way.
You see, friends, worship isn’t only found while singing before a service. If that were the case, He would have made us all vocal savants. No. Worship is found when you lay your life down in exchange for His. In complete and utter admiration.
One of the first times I recall worship being discussed in the Bible is found in I Chronicles 16. When David appointed Asaph and his associates to give praise in this manner (I’m paraphrasing to save you time, but please take a look at it sometime):
- Give thanks to God
- Proclaim His greatness
- Reflect on and share His wonders
- Search for Him
- Fear Him above all else, as you see His splendor
- Give Him His glory due
- Present yourself an offering as you come into His presence
- Rejoice for He is good! All the time.
and my favorite one is found in I Chron. 16:23:
“Each day proclaim the good news that He saves.”
Friends, it’s not about singing at all. It’s about communion. Admiration. Surrender. Glory.
God has gifted each of us with multiple ways to worship well. It’s not about finding a skill you’ve mastered; it’s about letting go and letting God’s glory resound. It’s about discovering those moments in your every day where you can freely lay yourself down and see Him. You won’t be able to help but praise Him. For that’s how He has made us.
We’re made to worship.
How about you, friend? How do you worship best? How do you let yourself go to glorify Him? I’d love to hear.
Thanks for sharing your time with me.