God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” – John 4:24
Today’s post is posing a challenge. I want to communicate how I felt in worship Sunday morning, but the problem with spiritual awareness is how to express it without sounding clichéd or trite.
First, being in a room full with people, singing praise to God, is in itself an emotional experience. Music always touches deep places in me, and I have to acknowledge my susceptibility to that psychological truth.
But here’s the thing. My psychological makeup is an element of how God created me, and helps define who I am. In other words, there is no “spiritual” me that’s distinct from emotional, intellectual, psychological, or physical me. God moves in and through who I am, and God meets me in and because of my emotional vulnerabilities along with my mind and my imagination and more.
So Sunday morning I was affected by the sheer mass of people around me, I was touched by the scriptures, the words, the prayers, the affirmations, and I was moved deeply when it all came together, during the closing hymn. I felt tears fill my eyes, my heart was full, and I felt very close to God.
This is what worship is all about. It’s about encouragement and praise, and an invitation to be filled by God. It’s about people who know they belong to God gathering together to celebrate God. As I looked around the sanctuary I saw people who are all over the map when it comes to politics, social issues, likes, dislikes, and doctrinal variations. But we are together in our love for God and our gratitude for this amazing gift of life.
This is what Jesus was talking about when he said, “That they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:22-23). Not thinking in lockstep; not all reading from the same page; not “likemindedness” when it comes to many ideas; but unity of spirit, unity of love, unity of celebration.
So I am thankful for another good Sunday with this beautiful church family. It’s been four years now (the last Sunday in August), and we are tired but blessed!
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.