An Unleashed Spring
Spring is gaining on us and soon it will be fully unleashed, and most of us are excited about the warmer weather and breath of freshness that comes with it. Signs are everywhere from the bulbs popping up to the massive flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds that descended on my community during the last week. I can hear these noisy birds long before I can see them as they create a cacophony of what seems like unleashed wild abandon as they fly in or out of areas. The large flocks are a sight to behold and they most often stop Ezekiel, my Great Dane, and I in our tracks as they fly over us when we are out walking. These very noisy birds seem to be unleashing and expressing the active joy of life seen in spring.
These spring heralding birds seem to gain a great deal of pleasure from unleashing themselves considerably and constantly making their presence known to every living creature around. However, due to our ever populating and advancing world, scientists are concerned if the encroachment of urban and city life is affecting the bird’s song, which is the bird’s main form of communication with one another.
One such study indicated that where there is a high traffic noise the Red-winged Blackbirds sing songs with fewer introductory syllables, which is an important component of both individual recognition and repertoire formation. However, the one thing that stood out to me more than others is that the birds that are in the noisy urban areas become more like one another losing their individuality as compared to the birds in the quiet rural areas. So, these urban and city bird’s ability to unleash their joyful noise is dampened as they become more like one another.
Quiet Reflection or Unleashed Joy?
As I thought about these birds, I related them to our gift of worship and how often that we, too, in large crowds or under seemingly watchful eyes seem to hold back and conform to those around us. Even in the time of Lent, there is room for refreshing breaks of unleashed joy. Yes, Lent is a time of reflection and is often intense, but it doesn’t have to be a tomb of silence for 40 days. Silence is good and something we don’t get a lot of in this world; however, Lent should not be a drudgery of constant contrition and sorrow for our sin because that does not reflect the true nature of the Lenten journey.
Lent is also a time to praise, worship, and unleash our love to God with wild abandon as we give thanks for the gift that He gives us on our journey, and that is the gift of worship. We praise God for who He is and what He is doing because there is much more to Lent than having us reflect on sin and repentance. God is providing a way back to Him and Lent is the journey back to God so we can stand righteously before Him. Lent can be quiet, but it can also be as noisy as Red-winged Blackbirds. The call stands for us to unleash making a joyful noise as we worship Him who is in our presence so we can know that our faith is not in vain and a Savior is on His way! Now that is news to be unleashed and noisy about by expressing our joy for Him in wild abandon worship.
Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.Psalm 95:1 (NLT)
The Freedom in Unleashed Worship
Psalm 95 invites us to worship and calls us to freedom. The freedom of unleashed joyous worship and the freedom to be with the Lord. The Psalmist tells us to come, shout, sing, and worship as we bow down and kneel before the Lord, our maker. Worship is not just something we think about in our head, for obviously worship involves our whole body. We should pour out ourselves in worship for as we come to worship nothing else matters. As we approach God as a community or privately, we should freely express our joy without the need to conform to what others around us are doing. We worship to remember the Creator of the world not to appease those around us.
The Lenten journey is one that moves to Grace. We are transformed during this journey to people that are starving for the release that grace gives us from the sin we are repenting of. When we accept that grace, we can no longer hold back and instead are bursting to unleash joy that comes with Christ. Lent certainly has its peaceful silence, but there is also a place for enthusiastic praise as both show appropriate expressions of worship to our great God. So, come let us worship God with both and all types of worship so we can face the despair of Good Friday, the quiet reflection of waiting on Saturday, and the celebration of a rash, unrestrained, impulsive and unleashed worship that shows full enthusiasm and zeal for Easter Sunday.
Remember that God accepts all your praise and that even in Lent there is a place for joy. Won’t you challenge yourself to come frequently into God’s presence with thanksgiving, unleashing a joyful noise of praise focusing on God and not conforming to those around you? Seal your conviction in knowing that there are many examples in the Bible of full cacophonous worship along with quiet worship and both are appropriate. Find your motivation through the power and knowledge that God wants all your worship no matter how it is delivered. Surround yourself in the comfort of the grace of God’s love and be unleashed, expressing your active joy in worship of Him.
Love in Christ,
Worship is more than singing. It’s more than just lyrics to a song. Worship is standing in the presence of God and declaring praises to His name.Unknown
What are Your Thoughts?
Do you look to those around you rather than unleashing your joy to the one that saves you? Have you felt the wild abandon to freely worship and praise God for all He has done for you? Share your thoughts on unleashing praise to express your joy to God during active worship.
Credits Lyndsay A. Cartwright, D. R.-F. (2013, June 23). Urban noise affects song structure and daily patterns of song production in Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus_. New York: Springer Science +Business Media. Retrieved from http://www.ilandart.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Urban-noise-Red-winged-blackbirds.pdf