“And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment.” (2 Samuel 6:14)
Would David be welcomed in our church services? In many churches across North America today, David would be ‘looked down on’ (2 Samuel 16) for his excited dancing. David isn’t the only one to be disruptive in his worship. At least seven times, Jesus disturbs the sensibilities of religious leaders on the Sabbath by performing miracles, a few of which happened right in the Synagogue (John 5:1-18, Mark 1:21-28 and 29-31, Mark 3:1-6, John 9:1-16, Luke 13:10-17, Luke 14:1-6).
All this to say, there can be good reasons for a bit of chaos in worship.
Sometimes an overly-ordered and reserved service misses opportunities to love those who need it most. I do think it is important to focus on God, listen to Him and refrain from making ourselves the center of attention especially during a worship service. However, recent experience has shown me that perhaps the secret and the quiet place of worship are overrated. This is because I have witnessed God’s power, more vividly than ever amidst worshipful chaos.
At the Christian Horizons Family Retreat, families affected by disability enjoy a vacation where their children with and without exceptional needs are supported by committed, caring and enthusiastic volunteers that help them to engage in all of the activities at a Christian camping resort. These activities include worship, water tubing, games crafts, campfire and more.
For many of the families who participate, Christian Horizons’ Family Retreat is a profound experience wherein they do not have to disguise their family member’s exceptional needs but in fact these are embraced and even celebrated. For example, the gleeful noises of nonverbal campers, the desire of other campers to dance or move around continuously combined with various rhythms of clapping, drums and tambourines provided for truly captivating worship services in which God was magnified and glorified to exceptional heights because people of all abilities were empowered to make a joyful noise unto the Lord (Psalm 98:4).
There God’s presence was vivid to me because each of us was worshiping in spirit and truth, according to our abilities which He created.
I believe God speaks to the spirits of people with and without exceptional needs, even if we do not all understand it or express it in the same way. I wish that pastors and worship leaders everywhere could be part of such amazing worship that is heartfelt regardless of the noise or activity level. I know God has the power to draw our attention quietly, loudly or through an unanticipated course of events. I pray that worship leaders everywhere will relinquish their fears and anxiety as to the flow of any particular worship service, remembering that God is in control and is glorified when all His people seek to worship Him.