Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Interesting Observations

I’ve attended 3 funerals this summer. As I’ve thought about them, I’ve come up with some interesting observations:

All 3 were men.
1 in his 30’s, 1 in his 40’s and 1 in his 80’s.
1 had a 15 year marriage, 1 had a 20 year marriage, and 1 had 60+ years.

1 was a long term illnesses, one was a culmination of things, and one was a tragic accident.
All three men were singers
1 did “old harp” singing - 2 wrote, sang and played instruments.

All three had funeral processions - seemingly rare these days; one was several cars long; one was about a mile long, and one was “farther than the eye could see…”
All three had photo boards - a new trend.
2 were closed caskets - one was open.

2 services had “congregational” singing, 1 did not.
1 had a praise team and 1 had hymnals.
2 had multiple speakers, one - just the single pastor.

2 had women pastors in attendance.
2 had black pastors speaking, with one being a black woman.
All three were different denominations.

1 service comforted my heart. (Singing “It Is Well With My Soul”.)
1 service proclaimed God’s Victory! (Singing the newer “praise-type” songs.)
And one service made me a little uncomfortable…

All three men were known far and wide for their service to God - 2 in multiple churches/denominations, 1 in only his own denomination, as they do not believe in attending other denomination’s churches.

All three men claimed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

This reminded me of a prayer I wrote earlier this year when the band John plays with performed in a Pentecostal Worship Service/revival. (John’s first experience in hearing “tongues…”)

Many Hearts - One Song

Father, what is it about us that makes us think that the way “we” worship You is the only “correct” way? We are all Your children, but we all worship You so differently. Some of us are quiet and reserved, some of us are spirited and emotional, and some of us a combination of both, but still, we are Your children.

Lord, I look at my own children and see that they are quite different, but both my children. I know they both love me, and I love them, but as You well know, they are so different. Why can’t we, as Your children, realize and understand that about each other?

Father, I’m not even talking about other religions, but just within the family of us who claim the name “Christian.” Those of us who claim Jesus’ declaration of “I am the Way the Truth, and the Life” seem to maintain that “our” definition, of which “way” the “Way” should be proclaimed, is the only manner in which to experience it… how much we are missing by this assertion …

How much we are limiting our praise and worship by doggedly holding to our own methods without drinking from our brothers’ cups. Yes, we may go back to our own cup, but we will have tasted that there are other flavors and other aromas to be experienced.

Just as the one body has many parts, each with diverse gifts and functions, so there are many ways to worship You. Each will be fulfilling to different people in different ways. Let us not think that our way is the only “correct” way, and thus hinder or impede another’s relationship with You.

Protect us from thinking that just because another worships You differently than we, that they are not quite as “spiritual” or as close to You as we are. Only You know the heart. For all who are led by Your Spirit are Your children. We have not been given the spirit of bondage but of adoption to which we can all say, “Abba, Father” whether we sing it, shout it or whisper it…

May we always remember that as many parts make one body, so many hearts make one song. Give us grace to allow our brother to worship You in accordance with how You made him. And give us courage to worship in the manner to which we were called.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

May God bless you in your worship.


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