Worship with Awareness
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has also forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32) NASB
Looking out the window early one morning, I noticed a raccoon moving across the back yard. This daytime sighting was unusual, considering the nocturnal nature of the animal. Abruptly, the raccoon stopped and twisted its head to look behind it. I wondered if a predator of some sort was ready to chase, since there seemed to be tenseness in the movement.
In the next moment two smaller raccoons stepped out from behind a tree and began a dash for what I now knew to be their mother. The tense manner of the mother was a bit clearer now, and if I had to guess (it’s hard to read raccoon body language), she seemed a bit stern in her look backwards. Apparently the youngsters were misbehaving.
After the children caught up, the re-united family began the journey across the lawn once again. But, only a few steps later, the mother once again flipped her head behind her with that stern, tense look. I thought, “What did they do now?” Well, it wasn’t them, but a third child ventured out from behind the tree. This one must be the rebel of the family. Once this final member of the family caught up, the four of them turned and made their way into the woods.
As I reflected on this incident I found it interesting how aware the mother raccoon was of her surroundings. I can imagine that she made herself clear to the children before leaving the protection of the tree that they were to follow her in the journey across the yard. As she began, within 20 feet she knew they weren’t behind her, yet she hadn’t turned around to notice. She was simply “aware” of her surroundings – and what was missing.
Without trying to give this raccoon human characteristics, it was still noteworthy that there was a tenderness in her actions and care for her children. A firm devotion that led her to both venture into the wide open yard (during the day nonetheless), balanced with a desire to protect and keep them from harm. She was aware of her surroundings, and the needs of her babies. She was kind, firm, loving and forgiving.
This short episode reflects our text in a concrete fashion. Sometimes, in frustration, we might turn around (literally or figuratively) having to wait for people to “catch up.” But if we follow the example of the raccoon mother, and the pattern displayed in this text, our hearts will soften with love and kindness toward those for whom we must wait. This softening and tenderness is a very reflection of what God, in Christ, has done for us.
When that vocalist struggles with her part. When the guitarist learns a new chord. When the drummer can’t seem to keep a steady tempo. When the sound tech fights to keep the feedback down. It is at these times, when we must allow our hearts to soften and love that person. Are they deliberately struggling? Are they trying to sabotage the efforts of the group? Not likely. They are human – as are we! We must be aware of their efforts, and aware of their need to grow and learn.
A firm commitment to turn, wait, encourage and forgive in these circumstances will come a long way in having the same tender heart that God has for us in Christ Jesus. Our awareness of the needs of others, and of the full situation that surrounds us, is an important part of being a community.
Father, help us to reflect your love in our tenderness toward one another. Give us awareness of our surroundings, to understand more deeply the needs of the moment. Thank you for your forgiveness, and for giving us the chance to pass that along. Amen.
Posted on August 18, 2015, in Content of Worship, Corporate Worship, Leadership, theology, Worship Leader and tagged Mark Sooy, theology, worship, worship leader, WorshipThink. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.