By Aubrey Chapman
Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless His name; tell of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. -Psalm 96:1-6
We are relentlessly reminded of how much God loves us and how beautiful we are in His eyes. It is spoken to us in Scripture, expressed to us in the nature around us, and made known to us by the many creative ways of the Holy Spirit.
But how often do we declare to God how beautiful He is, and how much we love Him?
For me, worship through song is the most precious time I have with the Lord. It is through singing that I feel the most freedom in proclaiming His majesty. There is something indescribable about closing my eyes and holding out my arms, envisioning my Father on His throne before me, pleased with the praises I sing.
For a long time growing up, I thought we were singing songs at church just to sing songs – they were merely words. I would see maybe three people in the entire church with their hands raised and their eyes closed and wonder, how do they have the guts to do that? They had to know that everyone else was staring at them. What was giving them the courage to stand out?
It wasn’t until the summer going into my freshman year of high school that I experienced genuine worship through song for the first time. I witnessed a whole congregation of believers, and even unbelievers, falling to their knees in complete surrender to Jesus. I saw people of all ages jumping and dancing in joyous adoration of the freedom given to them by the Lord. What amazed me was that they did all of this without any hesitation and without any attention to what those around them were thinking. Like the three people at church, the only thing they aspired to do was express their love and longing for the Lord. And thus, I realized what true worship is: the abandoned heart adoring its God.
In Revelation, the author, John of Patmos, is taken on a heavenly tour where Jesus tells him,
Write down what you have seen – both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen later. -Rev.1:19
John describes the heavenly throne room where, presently, the four living beings, the twenty-four elders, and thousands and millions of angels fall down before the throne of God and before the Lamb (Jesus Christ) in worship (4:9-11; 5:11-12). And then, all of those in heaven and those on the earth sing:
Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever. -Rev. 5:13
Envisioning the worship that is taking place in heaven right now, I can’t help but anticipate the day I get to begin an eternity singing praises with the heavenly choir of the beings, elders, and angels before the throne of my King and Savior. But why would we wait until then? God has given us these hearts and these voices to worship Him. Worshipping is a cherished way to give God His blessings back.
I say all of this because worship through song has radically changed my relationship with the Lord. When I realized that worship is more than singing empty words to a void of nothingness – that I am actually joining in with those in the heavenly throne room singing to an affectionate God who is seated on a glowing throne – I was able to experience the abounding joy found in singing praises with reckless abandon.
The next time you find yourself in worship, abandon your fears and lift your hands up to the Father, symbolizing your surrender. Listen to those around you raise their voices and imagine joining the choirs of Heaven. Picture staring into the clear, loving eyes of Jesus as you shout his acclamations.
God’s love for us is unconditional. Let us rejoice in this and give thanks to Him with the voices He has given us, as it is in Heaven. For, He is worthy of our affection.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. -Matthew 6:9-10