I couldn’t contain my emotion… joy bubbled up and over, each tear singing hallelujah for what God had done – my son Gavin was born! Even now the memory of his birth stirs me deeply. Perhaps you can relate. Each of us experiences a wide range of emotions as we move through our day-to-day lives. Typically, small experiences, whether positive or negative, illicit small emotional responses. Larger experiences naturally produce larger emotional reactions. It would appear then, that our emotional states are tied to and flow from the gravity of whatever situation we happen to find ourselves in. Whether it’s the release of a new album, a broken heart, a new birth, a job loss, or the big game… our emotions follow in kind.
We see this principle fleshed out in Psalm 95:1-5 as the writer calls the nation of Israel into the God-sized worship of God: 1) Sing to the Lord! 2) Shout joyfully! 3) Come with thanksgiving! 4) Sing psalms of praise!
It’s as if the Psalmist repeatedly implores both himself and the people, “The weight of our worship should rise to meet the weight of our present reality in God.” He reminds the people that God’s loyal-love has faithfully delivered them time and time again; God was, is and always will be the immovable ‘Rock of [their] salvation!’ God is worthy of exuberant praise, because He is their Great and Sovereign King of Majesty! Like Israel, God’s rule and reign faithfully and lovingly stands over-and-against every so-called god competing for the affection of our hearts. Indeed, our greatest enemies – the world, the flesh and the devil have each been overcome through the obedient death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our present reality in God is one of eternal victory in Christ.
The Apostle John fleshes out our multi-faceted relationship of holiness to and in Christ: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2-3). We are children of God now. Our positional relationship to and in Christ has set us apart for the enjoyment and glorification of God. However, ‘what we will be has not yet appeared.’ Today falls upon us fast and heavy. Each sunrise carries with it a host of competing desires, agendas, anxieties and relationships… each vying for center stage. Sadly, our divided affections often overflow into the distracted and dissatisfied worship of God – we love too much what deserves little, and love too little what deserves much. Oh, that the Spirit would cause the right-sizing of our affections, that they would truly be in proportion to our present reality in Jesus. Thanks be to God, our eternal and future reality in Christ (“we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is”) serves as a dynamic source of hope to dig our heels in and fight for kingdom progress here and now.
We are now deep into the season of Lent. As we round the final turn and pick up speed toward Easter, the Lenten cry of the historical Church beckons us to ‘make room for the risen King!’ Our hearts are overcrowded and overwrought, again heaven cries – ‘make room in your heart for Him to whom your heart belongs!’
The season of Lent is about sweeping the floor of our souls. Daily rhythms of repentance and reflection upon Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross are not undertaken for morbidity’s sake. Jesus didn’t ask us to be depressed for forty days. Rather, as we habitually reflect on the nature of God’s love demonstrated toward us on the cross, the natural result will be the sweeping away of debris obstructing our heart’s view of Him. As our view of God grows in color, depth and beauty, our ability to joyously respond to Him in worship progressively expands. As we reflect on the weight of our sin, the weight of Christ’s isolation, the weight of the Father’s just wrath and the crushing weight of Jesus’ death, a corresponding and eternal weight of glory breaks forth in our hearts, its light and life reaching into the deepest recesses of our souls. This expansion of worship invades the whole of what it is to be human – our minds, our wills, our emotions and our spirits join together in harmony to engage the overwhelming beauty of God’s infinite worth.
Along with the Psalmist, I invite you into the God-sized worship of God. Don’t limp into Easter. As we close the season of Lent, let us fight together to reclaim our blood-bought identity as Easter people. Let us make room for the risen King… Let us make room in our hearts for Him to whom our hearts belong…. May the weight of our worship rise to meet the infinite weight of glory revealed to us in Christ Jesus.