One of my favorite activities is corporate worship through music. I am naturally a “musical” person, and I discovered a love of music through various activities early in my life. Singing, dancing, playing instruments…there’s something about music that speaks to my soul. And it is through music when I most often feel the power of God’s presence.
Personal worship is important but worshipping through music in an assembly of believers is essential. In fact, God commands it! “Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart” (Ephesians 5:18-19). This command is not reserved only for those who are “musically inclined”, but for every follower of Jesus. Our corporate worship serves to encourage one another and invites the Holy Spirit to live and work among the church body.
I also think corporate worship serves another purpose for believers on earth. It gives us a small glimpse of what heaven will be like. I experienced this two weeks ago when I attended The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference. I stood in a darkened room with thirty-five hundred other women as the worship team played beautiful melody after melody, and our collective songs of praise rose to the Lord above. Submission, joy, and thanksgiving seemed compulsory. My heart felt too large for my chest and my hands instinctively reached high. The glory of God filled those moments and I thought, “I never want this to end!”
Similarly, a couple of years ago, prior to the COVID pandemic, I attended a Beth Moore live event. This time there were 4,000 women in attendance, and the conference ended on a dramatic and unforgettable note. The worship team led us in the popular chorus, “Holy, Holy, are you Lord God, Almighty! Worthy is the Lamb, Worthy is the Lamb. You are Holy!” (Hopefully, you’re singing along in your head!) And, as we repeated the chorus, the worship team voices dropped out. Then, the instruments faded away, one by one, until all that remained were the voices of the women, all 4,000 of us, singing that refrain in unison. The memory brings tears to my eyes this very moment as I type these words.
It’s the scene I imagine when I read about the choir of heavenly hosts that appeared to the shepherds in Luke 2:13-14: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Can you just close your eyes and picture it? All is calm out in the fields on an ordinary night, when suddenly the black sky is ablaze and the heavens roar with angels singing praises to the Lord! It is a breath-taking word picture – one I wish so much I could have experienced first-hand.
But the Lord, in his loving kindness and grace, comes down to meet us in our worship of Him, and we can experience the majesty of the heavenly choir, if on a much smaller scale, through corporate worship experiences like those I’ve described. Worship is our response to a revelation of God’s holiness, and this will lead us into a deeper relationship with Him. Sisters, let us savor each opportunity for gathered worship, until the day when we will join the community of saints in heaven and proclaim endless praise in the presence of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus!
Here you can read perspectives on life, ministry and God's Word from a variety of PCC's female leaders.