Psalm 51: 15-17 describes true worship: Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
The Lenten Season shoves in our faces the reality of who God is. He is the God who killed His Son to conquer death for the humans He had formed with His hands in love. What kind of God does that? What kind of God creates heavens and earths, all the while knowing that the inhabitants could turn on Him in an instant? He had the power to destroy everything He created, yet finds a way to allow all the inhabitants to have their own way, either to follow Him or follow their own will? He is the GREAT I AM. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is worthy of all praise. He created us to bring Him praise (Isaiah 43:21). He declares that His Son is worthy of even higher praise because of what happened at Easter (Philippians 2:10, Revelation 5:12). The Easter story is the climax of the goodness of God and therefore evokes the greatest response of declaration of our honest praise.
The Lenten season calls the whole church to a deeper level of worship. It is the time that the church stops to think about what church is all about. More people flood to church on Easter Sunday than any other day of the year including Christmas, which can be surprising since a death is so much more painful to celebrate than a birth (Christmas). But will they come with lips that declare God’s praise delivered from broken and contrite hearts?
There’s nothing like repentance to create true worship. If you take an honest look at yourself and your constant sin practice, you are left hopeless without the forgiveness of God. A heart that has honestly experienced God’s forgiveness can’t help but become overwhelmed in awe and respect of God. The wonder of His mercy and grace becomes honest worship of the God who alone is worthy of that kind of glory. Taking in the utter grace of God leaves a soul with no other expression than worship. Do the crowds gather on Easter drawn by the spiritual energy of true worshiper who have entered the Lenten season with honesty and devotion?
It is hard to find churches where that kind of worship takes place. God does not delight in people gathering for a concert, or an entertaining speaker. God delights in people coming in full force with the realities of His love and grandeur. He is not interested in the kind of shows that we put on to delight the crowds. He is impressed by the hearts that are broken of their own efforts to make life work. He isn’t worshiped by the spectacular. He is delighted by the humble sinner who gets who He really is. Imagine that. The God who creates spectacular universes is not turned on by the most spectacular display. Rather a simple sinner who cries for mercy, receives it, and praises Him from the depths of his heart is the kind of worshiper who delights God.
I have the capacity to worship God as He desires to be worshiped. Little ‘ole me can give God what He most desires from a human. There is nothing that would please God more than for me to see who I really am through repentance as the force that guides me to see Him as He really is as my All loving God. I can’t really see how much God loves me without seeing how unworthy of His love I am.
In the season of Lent, I repent of my lack of worship. I repent of the many times that I have gathered with other Christians for the purpose of worship, but without feeling broken or weak only wanting to feel different and hopeful about the life I have carved out for myself. I invite my Lenten journey to propel me to a broken spirit and a contrite heart so that my lips will bring forth genuine delight in God. There is nothing that delights Him more.
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