As I have grown and matured in Christ, I have come to learn that He is in everything. I am not talking in a pantheistic sense, in that everything is a god. I believe that I see God in all He has made, every one of His creations shows who He is. Romans 1:20, "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made." (ESV) I have seen God and worshiped Him while watching movies. I have worshiped Him in the mountains and I have worshiped Him at the sea. I have worshiped Him while listening to a stately hymn and while listening to 'worldly' music. I worship Him while I pet my cat as she purrs contentedly in my lap and I have worshiped Him as I watch a horse gallop in joyful abandon in a meadow. If worship is in my heart I can and will worship Him wherever I am.
There have been times that Jim and I have gone to visit other churches and the building may have been fancier than I am used to, or it may have been a storefront with folding chairs, and even a newly drywalled Sunday school room in Mexico without a word of English being spoken. I have been to churches where it has been nothing but hymns and an old organ and I have been to churches with a full orchestra. I have been to churches where it has been so dry that a spark would have caused an explosion and I have been to churches where the word has been taught so richly I have wept. But I have worshiped in each and every one of them, because it was the Lord's house and He is worthy of my praise, He is worthy of my worship. He is worthy no matter the circumstances, no matter the setting.
I think of the churches in those places where Christianity is outlawed. Christians being beheaded for their faith. Chinese Christians worshiping in silence, mouthing the words to the sacred songs. Christians being forced from their homes, separated from their families. Yet in all of the pain, in all of the heartache and struggle, they still choose to worship, in whatever form they can. They choose to worship the God who is worthy, regardless of the circumstances.
In the book of Acts, as Stephen is about to be martyred by the Sanhedrin, he preaches the history of God's relationship with the Jewish people. He preaches convicting words that shatter their erroneous thinking and it maddens them. As he speaks, he looks to heaven and sees the glory of God. He sees Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father and he worships Him. In the midst of the anger and accusations, Stephen kept his eyes on His Lord and worshiped Him from this life into the next. Nothing could deter him from his love and adoration for his Lord. Nothing. Not the screaming men. Not the lynch mob foaming at the mouth in their rage. Not being hurled to the ground and having paving stones heaved down upon him. Stephen worshiped his Lord through it all. Can you even imagine? I know how I feel when I am in the throes of worship. The love I feel for the Lord. The feeling that I almost cannot stand in His presence. The desire to have Him feel my gratitude, my devotion, my yearning for Him. It is hard even here to put into words. It goes back to the dream or vision I had of being held by Jesus. Me, this worthless human, less than all the others, held and loved by Him. That is worship. Where no words can come, where what is going on around you fades into the distance. You could be in the middle of Grand Central station or on a desolate mountaintop and you can choose to worship.
We worship because He is worthy. We worship because He is good. We worship because He loves us. We worship because it is who we are as His children. We are worshipers. John 4:23, "But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him." (ESV) He is seeking us to be true worshipers. He is seeking us! What a thought. We don't have to search high and low for Him, He is there all along looking for us to turn to Him. And He is waiting for us to worship Him in spirit and truth. Because the truth is, no matter the church, no matter the congregation, no matter the music He is worthy of our worship. Come, let us worship the Lord.