In times of Covid, we cannot engage in congregational singing, long a staple of corporate worship. So let’s think creatively. What else can we do to usher ourselves into the presence of God? How can we experience him and praise him?
I once took a group of inner-city teenagers outside of the city to experience God in nature. We went to the top of a hill the first night to look at the stars. They were amazed at the vastness of the sky and the brilliance of the stars. They gazed upward while I read Psalm 19 aloud. The next day, we hiked into a place in the woods near a stream and I gave them 30 minutes to wander alone in the wilderness, with instructions to pay attention to how they experienced God. When we came back together, I was amazed at the depth of some of their insights when I asked them what this time showed them about God.
Connect to the Psalms
At another gathering, this time with a group of adults, I asked them to each come prepared with a Psalm to read and share in worship. We heard praise read aloud, much about who God is and what he’s done, expressions of our love, proclamations of his character, and celebrations of his work and deeds. Praise the Lord is a command. It’s a proper response to an encounter with the great, all-powerful, loving, and involved God. In this way, worship is our personal response the person and work of God—an expression of the heart. This time of sharing Psalms naturally led into a time of praise: “Based on what we have heard about God’s grace, provision, compassion, and peace, please share your response to God.”
Much of worship can be spontaneous, but there’s room for preparation as well. A group of leaders I am working with appreciates it greatly when I send them a brief email a few days before we meet to let them know what we will be focusing on. In this way, they can meditate on the idea or passage beforehand and prepare for our time together.
Worship in silence
Other times, we don’t have words at all. Silent meditation on the awe and wonder of God can be built into corporate worship times. Like the prophet Isaiah described in Isaiah 6, we can bask in his presence and holiness without words.
Music for meditation
Even without singing together corporately, music can be incorporated. Either as instrumental background to a time of meditation or prayer, or as a song played aloud to be listened to and reflected upon. For worship includes music, but also goes far beyond it.
There are a myriad of ways to worship God. Do not limit yourself to just a few narrow options.
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