Sunday, January 20, 2008

Worship ... Until the Glory Comes!!

Stoneleigh Bible Week 1998 ... (the entire MP3 audio is here):

Ruth Heflin - the great charismatic pioneer who had such an influence on Rob Rufus - said this:

"Praise until the spirit of worship comes ...

Worship until the glory comes ...

Then ... stand in the glory!".

She went on to expound on that slightly and said this;

"When a worship leader is concious that the anointing has built to the place that the spirit of worship has come, he should slip quietly into a little song of worship. It should be less wordy than the songs of praise. When you worship, you don't need to say great things".

"Draw Me Close to You" came under rap a while back. Some evangelicals hate it - one pastor in particular I know has a real problem with it. But I think and still believe it is one of the most wonderful songs of expressive intimacy and love to the Most Amazing Person in the Universe - the only One who has ever loved us enough to give His life that we might live. "Love constrained the Son of God to go to Calvary!" (John Hosier) - Yes I do believe that we should begin our time together with praise - I love hymns of theology detailing what God has done for us.

But what husband and wife spend the entirety of their relationship talking about what they have done for each other? Surely the deepest expression of intimacy is in a look.

I love the video of this wonderful worship song because if you look carefully at the gathered thousands at Stoneleigh you will see "that look". Knowing Newfrontiers like I do, there were plenty of wonderful theological songs detailing what God had done that year at Stoneleigh ("Before the Throne of God Above" was one such song). But they had done what Ruth Heflin detailed. They had praised until the spirit of worship had come. And there was the deepest expression of intimacy ... in a look.

"Praise until the spirit of worship comes ...

Worship until the glory comes ...

Then ... stand in the glory!".


James B said...

Ohhhhhhhhhhh .........

Stoneleigh ......

I miss it so much!! :( I forgot they made this video!

lydia joy said...

Dan - I happen to enjoy this song very much myself....I think God is pleased when He hears us sing, "You're all I want, You're ALL I ever needed...!!!!"
Gosh I wish I could go to do you get the videos??

Dan Bowen said...

You would have loved it Lydia! It was such a touch of heaven, worshipping with twelve thousand other people! There's only one video sadly from 1998 - that's where this clip came from.

I too think God rejoices when we can reach a place in our worship when we can sing; "To feel the warmth of Your embrace". What similar language to that of Romans; "The Spirit within us cries out ABBA! Father!".

Diane (SGM Pastors wife) said...

Dan I think you hit the nail on the proverbial head when you said;

"The greatest or deepest expression of intimacy is in a look".

I always know something is going wrong in my relationship with my husband when we stop looking at each other, stop gazing at each other now and then, stop our amused little glances, stop our looks that speak volumes about what we are feeling - even looks across church like "Get me out of here, I need to get home".

Yet despite those lack of "looks" we can still carry on with the SGM prescribed "evidences of grace" etc etc. We may still be in relationship! But without the looks, it can't be described as deep. Or intimate.

The one thing that kept occuring to me was the "looks" on those wonderful Stoneleigh worshippers faces. Each of them had "the look". Some were weeping. Some were smiling and grinning in joy. Some were just closed in wonder. They were engaging with the Presence of God! And it truly was a sign and a wonder to me. It provoked me - when did I last worship like that?

I will tell you what saddened me in reading these links you provided. It wasn't Charles Colson's ridiculous rant. It was Bob Kaulfin's statement that he "used" to like to worship with this song in great emotion but now he has moved on to want to sing hmyns - presumably from the "Valley of Vision".

There's nothing wrong with these hymns. But like that wonderful quote from this Ruth Heflin lady said, if we don't move on from describing WHAT He has done to worshiping WHO He is then we are selling ourselves short.

Dan Bowen said...

Yes Diane, that's quite right - so what on earth is our problem with having the same deep feelings of intimacy towards God?

I argued strongly with the Mahaney/Song of Solomon thing because it says; "ALL Scripture is God-breathed and profitable ..." and using Mahaney's argument he has effectively written out one of the books of the Bible as having no relevance for single people.

That to me is the height of insensativity and poor exegesis.

I may never get married, but that doesn't matter as long as I can relate to God - MY ABBA - on a level of intimacy like this.

Peter Day said...

This video is really great. I remember those worship times - and that song! Wow!! The glory of God was truly there. We were lost in wonder, love and praise.

I can't help thinking, having heard this song criticised - just what is so wrong with that song? What is so terrible about pressing through into the glory cloud and enjoying intimacy with our Abba? What is so bad about declaring our love with words of such reality - "You're all I want"?

Once again, opposition to such things only has the result (if not the direct intention) of keeping the people of God in an old covenant mentality. Of course God is awesome and holy and all-powerful, and all these things. But the veil is torn in two, the blood has been shed, the law is nailed to the cross, and we have garments of His spotless righteousness having been made perfect forever.

Intimacy, as expressed in this song or in many of the other personal love songs, is our right as children of the living God.

You know, it is all very well to profess to love the cross, but surely it is a great insult to the Saviour who died for us, to downplay the fruit of His cross so much that they keep people out of the glory cloud and out of the intimacy expressed in this video.

Sorry for the rant, but these things are so important. Thanks you for posting these.

diane (SGm pastors wife) said...

"You know, it is all very well to profess to love the cross, but surely it is a great insult to the Saviour who died for us, to downplay the fruit of His cross so much that they keep people out of the glory cloud and out of the intimacy expressed in this video".

Amen Peter that is a very important way of putting it. I think that intimacy in our worship and intimacy in our walk with God suddenly becomes something to fight over. These people are more than happy to make the male/female issue and make it a "hill to die upon" but intimacy with our God? The only One who died for us? I think that is something worth dying for!!

I don't know about anyone else, but I am tired of singing about God. I want to KNOW Him.