Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13)
Going to a Seattle Sounders match is an exhilarating experience. Even if you’re not much of a soccer fan, it’s hard not to be struck by the spectacle made by the vast majority of the fans. Throughout the 90 minutes of the match, there is constant cheering, singing, clapping, stomping, and waving scarves and banners. (In several sections, no one ever sits down.) Even when the Sounders fall behind and a loss is imminent, the fans are faithful to the end, voicing their pride and support for the team. You may not know or care much about what is happening on the field, but you are bound to feel the amplitude of the fans, and it is quite a ride.
The capacity at CenturyLink field is at a minimum almost twice that of other stadiums in Major League Soccer, and so it is not surprising that Seattle has a reputation for being one of the hardest places for visiting teams to play. And not only has the Sounders home record been excellent every single season, but there is always a noticeably large contingent of Seattle fans that travel to road matches and make themselves heard.
Now, Seattle soccer is not exactly a model or reliable parallel, but true worship is fueled by the same kind of passionate energy and dedication. To give praise and honor to our God and to follow His call in our lives, we must often do whatever is required to make our way into the crowd and be heard. Sometimes it is uncomfortable, or things just aren’t going the way we hoped. Nonetheless, we must not hold back. We cannot be afraid to get up, get out there, and make some noise for Him. Even the simplest song or expression of praise, especially by many people in an assembly, can have a captivating and empowering effect that is not only pleasing to God, but inspires others to hear and follow Him.
There are numerous examples of this throughout the Bible. The psalms are full of calls to worship in various forms. Here are two examples:
“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” (Psalm 95:1-2)
“Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp.” (Psalm 149:3)
Luke describes how the shepherds were at first afraid when the angel appeared and told them of the birth of Jesus. And then, “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests’” (Luke 2:13-14). Support in the form of worship arrived and not only won the shepherds over, it led them to also worship Jesus and tell others about Him. Luke goes on to mention that “all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them” (Luke 2:18). Now that’s what I call a divine cascade effect!
I have participated in worship with hundreds of others in a stadium on a few occasions, including a Third Day concert and Acquire the Fire, and have felt the wave of God’s presence that is even more exhilarating than the most intense soccer matches. I forget about my own reservations and limitations, or how I may look, or if my voice is getting raspy, or if my arms and legs are sore. I just want to be part of it for as long as possible, engaging with Him.
Wouldn’t it be great if our worship experiences could always be like that? I’m not advocating that we need to be more charismatic; I’m simply trying to encourage us not to let any personal reservations hinder us from engaging in worship and enjoying the thrill ride of connecting with God. Here we are all on the same team, we are all His fans. And if we are open to Him and respond to Him without hesitation, we will score every time.
Daniel can be reached via email here.