A Glimpse of Heaven

Adrian Warnock has a post on his blog today in response to a cessastionist's concerns over emotional expression in worship. Normally I wouldn't post on something like this [to me, and most of my readers, there is no debate!] But on this occasion I have a story to recount. You see, although I am a passionate, all-out, dancing, clapping, hand-raising, kneeling, laughing, crying, charismatic worshiper; one of the most profound things I ever learned about worship, I learned from a cessastionist!

While I was at University, many moons ago, I had similar debates over worship with a friend of mine who was from a Brethren background. To him the only valid expression in worship was solemn reverent standing; to him even raising ones hands was too much. Although we had many debates (all of them pleasant) we always had to agree to disagree.

Then one day when we were both on a Christian Union weekend away, we all had a particularly powerful time of worship where the presence of God was tangible. I looked across the crowded room, and was astonished to see my Brethren friend with his hands raised, peace shining from his face, lost in worship of our Lord.

After the meeting, I rushed across to speak to him, to find out which of my many arguments had finally persuaded him. What he said to me in response has been burned into my soul ever since...

He said, "I caught a glimpse of what worship will be like in heaven, and I thought, 'Why can't I start now?'"

God did in one moment, what I in all my wisdom and persuasion had failed to do in months. The lesson he learned in that moment, is one that I believe holds for all of us. For if we think we have made it in worship just because we raise our hands, we are deceived!

The standard for worship is not set by those around us on a Sunday morning, but by those who are continually around the throne.

In worship, as in all other things we do for the Lord, our aim must be to see manifest on earth what already exists in heaven.


carl said...

Great post. I often experience God the most in vibrant worship songs to which my only reaction is to sit or lay on the floor while everyone around me is jumping and running. For me, jumping and screaming when i should be sitting and listening is as much error as your friend standing staid when he should be praising.

Gavin Deakin said...

Fantastic post Chris. Great testimony of Holy Spirits ablitly to transform our (your friends) thinking in an instant.

Anna Sacha said...

wat is going on?
everytime i read a post on ur blog, thats exactly what i have taught in my lecture at college!

Chris HH said...

Anna, I always thought your lectures would be good! ;-)