Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. ~ Psalm 100:2 (NLT)
“This isn’t a funeral. Jesus is alive!” You would think that this phrase is a re-creation to, or maybe a paraphrase of, the resurrection story found in the Bible. It’s not. This is literally one of the things I used to say to our praise teams at practice on Fridays, and usually again right before we began our worship services. Perhaps you can relate.
Often times, we approach worship with such seriousness, worry, and maybe just plain old laziness, that we put on a straight face, devoid of any hint of a smile, and trudge through it. This can be the norm from the pews. But it also can be the norm from the front as well. This brings me back to the reminder I give to the praise team each week.
Now, let me clarify. I’m not chastising them, I’m reminding them, and me as well, that we need to sing, preach, teach, and serve with gladness and joy. There is truth in the statement. We aren’t attending a funeral every weekend in memory of Jesus. We have a risen Savior! If that’s not something to be joyful about, I don’t know what is! We need to act like it.
So, how do we worship with joy and still remain reverent? It’s actually quite simple. It begins with correcting what we perceive as reverent. It’s not being quiet (though it can be). It’s not being stone-faced. Reverence has less to do with our actions and more to do with our attitudes. Why are we clapping? Why are we laughing? Why are we smiling? Reverence is about the ‘why’ behind our actions.
Therefore, if we are joyful – and God has given us every possible reason to be joyful – then our actions should follow suit. Joy expresses itself in a pleasant facial expression. Joy expresses itself through passion and energy. Joy expresses itself in the warmness with which we greet one another. Joy expresses itself powerfully through sermons and teaching. And, yes, joy expresses itself through the singing of praises to God.
This weekend, wherever you may be worshiping (You’re always welcome at my home church), worship with joy and gladness. Sing with passion and energy. Wear a smile, for our God is alive! Let joy permeate all aspects of your worship experience. Our God is worthy.