“Could ‘astonishment’ be a good synonym for worship?”
This question arose in one of my recent God Questions posts.
Luke 9 contains many amazing events. After Jesus heals a boy who was convulsed by an unclean spirit Luke tells us that “…all were astonished at the majesty of God.” (Luke 9:43)
I’ve been thinking about this for the last few days, and it seems to me that “astonishment” may not actually be a synonym for worship, but I believe it is an important aspect. An aspect that is usually far too lacking.
I remember the very first time we used drums in a worship service. Some people were astonished. Some in a good way. Quite a few in a bad way. They expressed their astonishment in phone calls, letters, and notes on the “silent roll call” cards.
I remember the first time someone had the audacity to serve communion without wearing a tie. Many were astonished that the elders would allow it.
I remember a time when I used the phrase, “come hell or high water” in a sermon. I received a phone call from an astonished church member who couldn’t believe a preacher would use profanity in a sermon.
People have been astonished at the use of dramatic lighting, modern music, video preaching, removing the organ, removing the attendance and offering statistics from the bulletin program, the way the worship leader wears his hair, an awesome guitar solo, and more. Much more.
When was the last time you were astonished in worship?
What caused it?
There have been times during a communion service that I’ve been astonished that God could ever accept me. I know me. I’m sure He does, too. It’s astonishing to me that, in spite of my selfish sinfulness, God made such a horrific sacrifice… for me.
Sometimes, when I look around me on Sunday morning, I’m astonished at lives that are changed through the ministry of my church. God does that. He uses us broken sinners to bring healing and hope to other broken sinners. Astonishing.
I see our worship team, our children’s ministry volunteers, our greeters, and many more servants, and I’m astonished at the number of people in my church who give an astonishing amount of time, energy, talent, and money in serving in the church, and in their community through Whiz Kids, Habitat for Humanity, and elsewhere. Astonished and thankful.
Sadly, I’m also astonished at the people who refuse to see any of that because they’re uncomfortable with the music, or the lighting, or whatever.
I don’t think comfort and astonishment mix very well.
“And all were astonished at the majesty of God.”
What astonishes you?
I think it depends on what you’re looking for.
Next Sunday morning, look for God.