Friday, April 10, 2009

Because of the Cross

I saw Melissa's post about this which led to Angela's carnival at Becoming Me ( who is inviting her readers to share what Easter means to them. I want to do this. So I scrapped my pre-scheduled post that I had set for today and offer this in its place.

What Easter means for me comes in a three-part explanation at present. *Warning: Long Post*

#1 - I had pre-scheduled a bunch of posts this month because I had a huge history exam at the end of the month that I was getting ready for. I still have some scheduled posts that will pop up here and there throughout the month but my reasons for using them have changed. My dad, who had cancer around 12 years ago and has been in remission, is now facing this disease again and it is comin' on strong. Instead of spending my time hunched over books preparing myself for an exam, I'll be flying to see my family and will be gone for awhile. A life threatening illness is certainly making me think of the cross an awful lot. Maybe even more than I want to but certainly not less than I need to.

#2 - We had a worship seminar at our church about a month back and during it, our lecturer/guest worship leader/whatever you want to call him made this statement:

"When I get to Heaven, I don't want to be in Worship 101. I want to learn to worship right here and right now!"
#3 - I had the following dream while on one of our trips to California during the month of March (and this is the first time I've written it down, although I have shared it in person quite liberally):

I was inside an inner worship circle with leaders of my church. We were worshiping as we normally do and the music was crystal clear, sound system working beautifully, everyone was happy. I had the conscious thought that I was in the "in crowd" with the movers and shakers of the church. All of the sudden these three annoying teenage girls (heh) were scooting me out of my chair and away from the circle. I was annoyed and finally decided it was impossible for me to worship with these three girls dancing right next to me, so I removed myself to the "outer circle" of worshipers, which I knew in my dream to be the rest of my church family -- the congregation.

From outside the inner circle of "well-known" worshippers, the music was not as clear. The sound system was off. People weren't really singing with the same passion. Most looked lifeless and sounded less so. I was frustrated and annoyed and pondered the idea of just going home and ending my Sunday experience, as at that point it was obvious I wasn't going to get anything out worship.

As I rose to just leave it all behind, the strain of one of my favorite songs came out of the inner circle. I decided to stay to the end of the song to participate in whatever way that I could. I sat down in a chair and closed my eyes in order to be able to focus on the words of the song. With my eyes closed, I raised my hands. The instant my hands were raised it was as if the whole host of Heaven came to worship with me. Colors were swirling and I was intensely in the middle of the most intense - and PERFECT - worship I have ever experienced in my life. There were beautiful colors I've never seen before with ribbons of gold strewn throughout. To say I was consumed with it all is an understatement.

Also instantly, the alarm clock went off and I was suddenly woken up from this dream. And a good thing too because I wouldn't have left that place of perfect worship willingly.

I haven't stopped thinking about that experience and when I raise my hands in worship now I do it in faith that the God I love will meet with me and restore energy to this pitiful soul.

To tie all of the above together, this Easter I am learning that the death of anything - a bad habit, a sinful response to situations, a sacrificial gesture - leads us into perfect worship. As Aslan stripped the dragon scales off of Eustace, Jesus strips my sins away from me so that I can draw closer into fellowship with Him, perfecting my worship just a little more and a little more and even a little more until I'm in the presence of the Lord and can truly worship perfectly.

The cross is the biggest and best example we have of perfect worship. Through Christ death we are given access to the throne room of Heaven. Usually I think in terms of being able to run to the throne and dump my worries and concerns and be healed. All of this may still be true but this Easter I plan on running to the throne to WORSHIP! Every day I want to die to myself a little more and come alive to Christ and His beautiful work in my life. I trust Him with my all, and with all I call mine - even my dad.

I'm the daughter of a worship leader. I'm married to a worship leader. Worship is unashamedly a part of who I am. I look forward to it every week. I long for it and frequently think it can only be accomplished once a week. But this week, not just because it is holy week, I'm beginning to see that worship is an every day thing. It's an all day thing. It's a throw your head back, raise your arms high and PRAISE kind of thing.

Step by step I'm learning and I am growing and I am moving towards that perfect worship that I had a moment to glimpse. I long for THAT. I purpose towards it. And the cross is in my line of vision as I do so. Why? Because it is a pleasant topic? No, death never is. But it was necessary. Without it, I could not live.


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Thanks for sharing this, Carrie. You said it so beautifully. I am learning, too, what worship is all about. I just finished a 30 week study of Revelation, and boy, let me tell you that this changed my view of Jesus and heaven. (Perhaps I'll blog about it some time.)

Lisa Spence said...

Can I just say I love it when your posts come with a warning? :-)

Good stuff here. Those who lose their life find it, glory to God...He alone is worthy!

Still praying for your dad...

Mary Moss said...

Yes worship is truly a lifestyle! Great post!

Easter Blessings to you!

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