So I was "all ears" (so to speak) when I saw what one of my favorite authors, pastors, and bloggers, wrote yesterday on his blog:
"While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha."
Have you ever noticed this prophetic idiosyncrasy? The Message version of II Kings 3:15 says: "When a minstrel played, the power of God came on Elisha." Is that a random connection? I think not. There are other instances in the Old Testament where music dramatically changes the emotional and spiritual climate. For that matter, it was the worship leaders who led Israel into war on occasion. Check out II Chronicles 20:21.
What am I getting at? As leaders we need to be intentional about creating atmospheres where people can hear God's voice. And musical worship is one of them. I had this revelation during worship a few weeks ago. Some things cannot be learned from a sermon. They can only be experienced in worship.
I'm not suggesting that you rent a harpist. But you better figure out how to hear His voice more clearly. Just as athletes have pre-game rituals that help them get in the right frame of mind for a game. I think we need spiritual rituals that help us get in the right frame of spirit. That is what musical worship does. It tunes us to God.
Whenever I open a service I try to put a frame around the experience. Here's how I did it this week. I simply reminded our congregation that we often feel unworthy to worship God but God is always worthy to be worshiped. We worship in that tension. And we have a saying around NCC: don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what's right with God. Why? Because He's worthy!