“Brothers and sisters think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
1 Corinthians 1:26-28
A mixture of blank faces and passionate worshipers staring at me while I’m singing so loud and so hard that my side hurts. I’m sweating. I’m exhausted. I’m out of breath. I look up and gasp for air in a moment off the mic just to keep from collapsing. Then I turn back once again to a stoic crowd, while I scream-sing til my voice is brash and bruised.
Most of the feedback I receive about my sweaty Sunday singing is positive. However, I occasionally receive puzzling looks and questions as to why I would be so demonstrative in worship.
It’s “foolishness” to them. It's wasteful. It's showy. It's juvenile. Well here's a little secret courtesy of the blonde scream singer on stage: it just doesn't make sense yet. This foolishness doesn’t come from immaturity, rebellion, a lack of intelligence. It’s a “foolishness” rooted in something that is both magnificent and mysterious.
My demonstrative displays of worship erupt from a very genuine part of my heart that knows Jesus (period). Jesus has not only changed every part of my life and lifted me from the depths of my despair; HE is beautiful beyond measure.
As I discover more of who Jesus is and experience His wonders in my life, I'm finding it harder and harder to give anything less than passionate shouts, knees on the floor, tears down my cheek, and sweat...lots and lots of sweat. Simply said: my heart is experiencing Jesus, and everything else is just the overflow.
It's not the physical mannerisms that are important in worship; it's where our heart is. Have we really allowed the Lord to reach us at our very depths? Are we really pursuing the lengths and breadths of who Jesus is? Or are we merely satisfied with the shallow end of grace and the former wonders dwelling on the surface? Friend, there is grace upon grace available to us. There are wonders upon wonders to be found in the person of Christ today!
I am meant to lead my community to the place where God still moves, a place that looks “foolish” to the world. I am meant to break the ground that they, with time, will someday walk in. It seems foolish now, but someday “every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.” Someday EVERYONE will be a little “foolish” before the Lord.
Now, dear reader, it is with all love and sincerity that I urge you to first experience the fullness of God for yourself, but also to understand that YOU are meant to lead your community to this place of encountering God and His life changing love. Though you might look a little “foolish” in the process, you can take comfort knowing that it is GOD who chooses the "foolish things to shame the wise".
Your gifts are needed, your heart is needed, your efforts are needed, and your prayers are needed. You have been given divine gifts to illuminate the story of Jesus in this world and carve out of the part of the human heart that has always existed for Christ alone. You may end up in spheres that are beyond you. You may be surrounded by people with more clout and talent. Yet, God chose YOU to be the vessel of His glory.
So...may we have the COURAGE to be the first to be a little foolish for the things God has done for us. May we have the STRENGTH to be vulnerable enough to show the depth, length, and breadth of the work Christ has done in us. May we have the GRACE to know the little that others give may be the best that they have right now. May we continue to EXPERIENCE the love of Christ and PURSUE Him even when we are at our weakest and most vulnerable. And may we be willing to GIVE our all and give our best, regardless of what others give, because we know the great lengths we have been saved.
Jen is a pastor, worship leader, writer, and songwriter living in Napa, California.