So I don’t normally do this.
Just write. For the sake of getting an idea out of my head.
But I just got out of an awesome Bible study with some friends (over video chat, of course), and I just went down this worship song rabbit hole.
So here goes.
Clearing the Stage
(Or, a look at what God is doing to His worship in the church during the global pandemic)
It started when I shared a song that popped into my head during the study with my church’s community group. You know, to encourage them with a great scriptural song.
Turns out, it jumped back on me and got me thinking about other songs (thank you Youtube and your tendency to grab other songs and force me to watch them. I need to turn off auto-next feature) and listening to them.
Anyway, about 5 songs down the worship hole I was falling into, up pops “Clear the Stage” by Jimmy Needham. The more recent acoustic version, not the original lyric video version.
You know what, I’ll just embed it here, so you can listen as you read:
I’ve seen both versions of this song, and for about 3 months at the beginning of my worship leading journey, when I very clearly realized that I had no idea what I was doing, listening to this song with headphones on was the last thing I would do before getting up to lead on Sunday mornings.
It was very powerful. It still is so powerful. In fact, as I write this, I’m listening to it on repeat. (Wow, he plays lefty!)
But now, this time in our world’s history has given me a whole new perspective on this song.
“We can sing all we want to … and still get it wrong. Oh, worship is more than a song.”
That lyric from the bridge keeps haunting me.
How many of us have realized this abruptly during this time of leading our congregations remotely?
I know I have.
I found myself falling into the trap of still overemphasizing the experience of singing the worship songs. And not emphasizing the actual act of worshiping God, whether that be through song or through some other act.
So, in this time when God has cleared our stages for us, let us worship leaders and pastors turn the focus back on “making space for the One who deserves” our worship.
“Anything I put before my God is an idol. Anything I want with all my heart is an idol. Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol. Anything that I give all my love is an idol.”
What are you putting before your true, honest, pure, and unadulterated worship of and love for God?
Have you cleared the stage of your heart?
Have you moved out all the idols?
Have you readjusted the focus of your worship back to where it belongs?
Let me encourage you to give this song another listen, whether you’re a pastor, worship leader, or just a believer.
Turn it up, close your eyes, and let it bring you into a sweet time of release and revival with the only one worthy to be worshiped on any of our stages – whether literal or figurative.
And remember the way the song begins – take whatever measures you must to crush the idols in your life and in your heart – and remember that worship is more than a song.
Stay worshiping, friends.