When my husband and I decided to go out for a pub lunch for my birthday we each took very different approaches to finding somewhere. Russ instantly started researching pubs with good reviews and I wanted to play ‘lefty-righty’… drive out into the countryside and when we hit a junction to decide on the spur of the moment which way to go. He was worried we might end up in some dodgy pub with bad food and I wanted to enjoy the mystery of discovering something we wouldn’t have otherwise found. Although he was worried it might not work out, he went along with my little adventure.
We drove out into the Cotswolds and found beautiful little villages we’d never normally have visited… but no pubs! He very gently mentioned that we might need to put a limit on how long we did this, both of our stomachs were beginning to rumble, and while I was enjoying being a little lost in such beautiful surroundings I knew that food was the goal. So you can imagine that when we turned the next corner and saw the most beautiful 16th century pub set back in stunning surroundings that I squealed ‘There! We’ll eat there!!’ with huge relief that it had worked out in the end!
The truth is that it had more than worked out. We parked up and Russ got his phone out to check out where we were. I was a little worried when he said ‘Oh. Rebecca, this won pub of the year last year, and the menu is a little pricey. What do you want to do?’ We decided that as it was a special birthday that we’d just chance it and see if there was a bar menu, which we were relieved to see there was. The pub was exactly like I’d had in mind, a log fire, cozy nooks, local produce, great food… and to top it off, owned by a baronette and frequented by royalty!
So, what on earth does my little birthday adventure have to do with worship?
1. God’s destination is the goal, but the route is still important. The way God leads us to where He wants us to be is a unique and wonderful thing. It could be meandering country roads, it could be a speedy motorway… we may think we know where we’re going, but God may have other plans. Are we willing to throw our plans out of the window in order to follow His prompting? We need to be prepared to go the way God is directing us, even if we can’t see where that might be.
2. It can be risky to go on a different path from usual, but you could find something wonderful that you never knew was there. It can be easy to settle into a pattern with our worship. The same songs, the same sound, the same people contributing each time. It can still be a good time of corporate worship, God will still bless it and speak through it, but if we want to discover something new of God then we need to be asking Him to guide us and for us to get used to stepping out and following His lead. “Where do we go next, Lord? Do we wait, do we sing something (and if so what), is there something You want to say prophetically, and if so how do we pick up that thread and carry on that road?”
3. We may feel out of our depth, but there’s a warm welcome when we step over the threshold. Stepping into an unfamiliar environment can be an uncomfortable place to be. We don’t know the etiquette, the expectations, what’s going to happen… but it can open us up to things we never knew we’re there. And this is God we’re talking about… He wants us to draw further and deeper up and into Him, so we can have confidence that His arms will be open to us.
4. Once we’ve been there we can show others the way.What we do in private comes out in public. If we spend time worshipping and pushing further into God personally then it will dramatically draw us on in our corporate times of worship. When we know how to worship in a deeper more intimate way we can open the door for others to do the same.
5. There may be a price to it, but it’s affordable and worth it. Like the parable of the treasure hidden in a field, we have the fee to buy the field… but the hidden treasure is a bonus we could have never afforded. Whatever we feel the cost is, the reward is so much greater than we can imagine. We get to worship and connect to the living creator God, the loving source of life, to be in the inner court of the King… it doesn’t get much better than that!
6. We will leave satisfied, built up and having been in the presence of royalty. It will change us from glory to glory. And once we’ve been in that place, we’ll want all the more to bring others into this wonderful place and introduce them to our loving Lord and Saviour.
So go on adventurous road trips with Jesus, discover new roads and routes. Find new treasures, start in your own worship and see how it seeps into your corporate worship times… maybe we’ll meet up down one of those roads someday.