The Wonder of Worship (The Distracted Worshipper #1)

Series Introduction: I’m swatting at mind-gnats. It’s Sunday morning and I’m struggling to be all here. Yesterday gnaws at me — the project unfinished, the game lost, the unresolved issue. What’s more, my impatient tomorrow keeps barging backwards into today. Oh to be fully now.

Jesus reigns, but in a distant, fuzzy realm. My worries, plans and pleasures are near and clear and dear. I hunger for Him, but also for lunch in two hours and football in four.

Pastor, feed me the Word of Life. Worship leaders, draw me into the Presence. Tech team, fade to black so that I only see Jesus. Help me detox. I am a distracted worshipper. See more from the series The Distracted Worshipper: A View from the Pews.


The Wonder of Worship

Matt Redman* says, “Worship thrives on wonder”. What exactly is the relationship between worship and wonder? Jacob Needleman* offers a helpful story…

“I was an observer at the launch of Apollo 17 in 1975. It was a night launch and there were hundreds of cynical reporters all over the lawn, drinking beer, joking, and waiting for this thirty-five- story –high rocket. The countdown came and them the launch. The first thing you see is this extraordinary orange light, which is just at the limit of what you can look at. Everything is illuminated with this light. Then comes this thing slowly rising up in total silence, because it takes a few seconds for the sound to come across. You hear a WHOOOOSH! HHHHHMMMM! It enters right into you.

You can practically hear jaws dropping. The sense of wonder fills everyone in the whole place, as this thing goes up and up. The first stage ignites this beautiful blue flame. It becomes like a star, but you realize that there are humans on it. And then there is total silence.

People just get up quietly, helping each other. They are kind. They open doors. They look at one another, speaking quietly and interestedly. These were suddenly moral people because the sense of wonder, the experience of wonder had made them moral.”

What caused these pagan reporters to experience wonder? As I imagine myself at that launch, twin realities press upon me. First, the weight of the event – three men actually heading to the moon on this technological marvel designed and built by humans. But it’s not simply this breath-taking achievement that prompts a sense of wonder in me. A second element juxtaposes itself. Compared to this enormous event, I suddenly feel very, very small. In fact, I continue to shrink as the rocket rises further and further from earth.

So consider the implications for worship. Worship erupts spontaneously whenever God looms large among us and we, at the same time, shrink.

Big God + little people = worship.

So how might you help this distracted worshipper experience the wonder of God? How might pastor and worship team deepen and enlarge my view of God so that my soul becomes a geyser of glorious praise?

(*Needleman, a Professor of Philosophy, was interviewed by Bill Moyer for Moyer’s book and television series, A World of Ideas II. Matt Redman writing in his book, Facedown.)

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Craig Parro

Since joining Leadership Resources International in 1989, Craig directed its international ministry, and as of January 2010, he now serves as President. A graduate of TEDS (M.A., Mission), Craig is a stimulating teacher and has equipped and encouraged pastors and churches throughout the U.S., Latin America and Asia. Craig also serves on the Board of Directors of TOPIC (Trainers of Pastors International Coalition), an association of pastoral training organizations focused on accelerating pastoral training worldwide. Craig has authored articles appearing in several magazines. His first book, Unlikely Warriors, was published in 1992. He is also co-author of Finishing Well in Life and Ministry: God’s Protection from Burnout.