from Rachel: Worship That Pleases God

“May 6 (late afternoon – I’m famished and developing a headache)

“As worship types go, I think I’m a combination of Naturalist, Enthusiast and (somewhat) Intellectual.

“Let’s see, words other than: worship, praise, thanks, hallelujah or amen. So I should try to instead use words like: adore, exalt, magnify, glorify, extol, appreciate, honor, blessed, privileged, lavished, grateful, gratitude, “admire”, “respect”, “value”, “revere”, to expand my worship vocabulary.”

“Other names for God and their meanings:”

(Not sure what happened here, honey. It looks like you meant to make a list, but moved on to the next page without doing so. Wonder what happened; I don’t suppose, even were I to have come across this book while you were still around, whether you would have been able to fill in the blanks as to what you had been trying to do at the time.)

“I can’t say for sure which is more pleasing to God – public or private worship, but to a certain extent I fear the question should be more accurately, ‘Which is less displeasing to God right now?’ In public worship, sometimes I get caught up in the words and melody and praise Him wholeheartedly in song, but other times my thoughts turn to how I sound and look to others around me or just wander off to unrelated topics.

“In private worship, I love singing hymns, but sometimes I find myself at the end and realize I scarcely thought about a word. Other times I try to begin a prayer with praise, but forget and move onto other parts or I just get distracted and forget to keep praying.

“I don’t know what to do about these problems.”

Dearest Rachel –

I’m probably going to have to go back to the book in order to figure out what you’re talking about in terms of worship types, although I can pretty much guarantee without looking that I would qualify as an Intellectual type. I’ve often claimed that I can accept the truths of Scripture in my head, while at the same time bemoaning the fact that I have never had the ‘fire in the belly’ that so many other people claim to have – or at worst, once had. I’d like to hope that Pastor Warren didn’t apply any “good, better, best” ranking to the various types of worshipers.

I’m sure that the efforts that you were asked to make were a part of a plan to break you (and anyone who would be keeping such a journal) of speaking Christianese. We do, as members of a (the?) church, tend distressingly towards certain jargon, all of which – however inadvertently – tends to keep the outsider, an outsider. And that’s certainly not good. An equally problematic is the fact that such jargon becomes second nature, and we tend to find ourselves speaking certain words without even thinking about it, as if on automatic pilot. By trying to come up with different words, we have to think about the meaning – and whether we are meaning what we say.

As for the last page, I have to admit that it seems weird to see you speak so negatively of yourself as a (allegedly) typical worshiper, and how both public and private worship can be corrupted, leaving you with the question of which is least corrupt rather than which is most pleasing to God. But I suppose it makes sense to determine which form of worship is most broken, allowing you to determine what and where to fix things.

The only problem, of course, is that as you acknowledge, you’ve no idea how. Worse yet, in all the years since then, I don’t know that either of us ever came up with a suitable solution. And in all honesty, even if we thought we knew better, this last year has certainly been an anvil-to-the-top-of-the-head reminder that I do not have all the answers. Indeed, I don’t even have most of them.

And I have to say, I haven’t much more to add to your comments beyond that. Maybe now, you have all the answers, in that all has been revealed to you once you’re on the other side of the veil.

Pity you’re not in a position to share them with us still stuck here on earth. We could sure use them.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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