Worship by Observing

Posted by Kurt Scobie on May 24, 2016

Hands were raised. Eyes were closed.

There was crying. Sobbing.

Some were praying in tongues. Some were singing along loudly to every word.

People kneeled. People stood.

They cheered and shouted. They were quiet and reverent.

And me? I was sitting. Eyes open. Just watching and listening. Taking it all in.

One of my favorite songwriters, Amanda Cook, came to Atlanta on her "Brave New World" tour, and it was phenomenal. The lights, and sound, and videos, and musicianship, and production, and... everything... was awesome. One of the best concerts I've ever been to. The night was beautiful.

The best part was that it was a worship concert. Everyone seemed to be there for one reason. Jesus.

One of my favorite moments of the night, though, was when Amanda imparted a "golden nugget" of wisdom.

Early in her set she talked about "worship by observing". I don't remember exactly what she said, but it blew my mind.

You see, so much of what we have been taught about worship revolves around action. That if we are truly worshiping, we should be singing or clapping or shouting or something other than "just" sitting.

But, she challenged that thinking. Not to say that those things are not good and right and important. They are. Her point was that there seems to be a lack of listening and watching and just sitting back to take in the wonder and beauty of God and His creation.

She invited us to worship by observing the beauty of music, which God created. To take in the coolness of technology, which God has allowed us to discover. To watch these artistic elements come together and simply sit back and be speechless.

Again, there is a time for crying out, for shouting and singing and clapping, for praying. And congregational singing is extremely powerful and important. However, I see an increasing need for quietness before the Creator to simply take in His beauty.

Congregational singing is not necessarily worship. Raising your hands is not necessarily worship. Neither is cheering.

Real worship comes down to the focus and affections of the heart. That is what God wants. Our hearts. Our attention. Our affections.

So, that night I sat. I watched. I listened. I was completely quiet. And it was one of the most powerful worship experiences I have ever had.

What if our times of worship included moments to just be quiet, sit, reflect, and observe?

I believe that God is just waiting to blow us away with His beauty.