What really happens when we’re asked to ‘clear our minds of all distractions’ before worship

So you have travelled a hundred miles, found the room, unpacked the bag, changed and showered and met a few people over coffee, you’re at ‘The Christian Conference’ and after tea is ‘the evening meeting’. So the programme is dissected, seminars are ringed and the note book and folder is readied, and at 7.30 it is time to toddle off to the evening meeting. You find the best place, half way back, to the left, a few seats away from any one else. And it starts. Theres a countdown, a couple of people chirping away comedically, usually a male and female, with the female laughing hysterically at the males jokes, hes the comic – she’s his sidekick. Its the reality, and what it looks like.

Then the band gets up onto the stage….

Theres a pregnant pause, Were invited to our feet, to stand.

And now the moment;

‘lets just spend a moment forgetting all the things we were doing before today and really focus on God’,

says the now guitar adhorned worship leader bloke. Image result for christian worship bands

And in that split second im thinking;

Did I lock the back door?,

what about the ironing?

Is the heating off?, dont want that to be on all weekend,

cant believe work didnt let me have this weekend off!,

ive got a deadline for tuesday, wh–

‘just focus on God, just a few minutes’

he’s on to me,

he can tell,

im squirming, im trying to focus on God,

but i forgot to chuck out the milk,

i hope the kids are ok at grandmas this weekend,

did i leave her my new phone number?

, did she remember that they dont eat cheese?, or bedtime, did i pack their toothbrush, or car seat, or enough clothes, i think so—-

yes now just listen to what God might be saying to you in the peace and quiet

gulp. erm.

peace and quiet? really, peace and quiet! (internally boils whilst trying to retain a composed more spiritual than thou pose)

I bet that worship leader all he does is write songs all day and ponce around with a band, me, im juggling work and family and coming along here to a conference, with stuff beyond stuff all going on.

I open my eye.

Oh no!, everyone else looks radiant and peaceful. And me, im churning inside, didnt get a moment there, look at them all spiritual, and me too much of a busy mind, too thinking and worried. Too much going on. Give me an open space to think and its the first in a while – so it gets clogged up. Now i feel guilty, guilty that i couldnt be as radiant and spiritual as everyone else, guilty that i couldnt shut off from the normal, guilty that Im not like everyone else. Guilty that a spiritual switch that everyone else seems to have I dont.

now were ready to worship – lets sing a song together…. 

But, im not ready to sing, because i havent been able to ‘just switch off from the normal’

But is that actually what God requires of us?

Yes we are told not to worry, we are more precious that the sparrows. But is worship time a time to need to forget the things of the everyday?, instead is worship an act of doing good, and worship a time to reconnect into the story of Gods ongoing redemption which includes all the things that we worry about, the stuff of life itself. It is not healthy to divorce the normal from the spiritual, neither is it to deny the opportunity that God might use all things for his overall good, and so trying to fake our own spiritualness seems at odds with approaching with humility and honesty. We dont have the capacity to clear our minds of things, its barely how we’re wired. Switching off from the normal to worship, its more how weve come to see worship as performance, and also an attempt to devolve power and critical thought to the atmosphere and worship leader. We cant forget the really important things in our lives like our families, our children and all these things, and Im not sure God, even in a few moments prior to a worship set might be asking us to either.

And I bet everyone else is thinking the same too.

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