Yesterday was Easter Sunday, the day the church celebrates Christ’s resurrection from the dead. It was also a pretty full-on day for me. I had the honour of leading worship at Faith Community Church’s Easter Service, serving with Fantastic Team 3 which is always a joy for me. For the first time in recent memory, our church also had a smoke machine. It was awesome (but not in the frightening sense per Ps Benny).
I then rushed off to do a sound check in Forrest Place, right in the retail heart of our city for the Easter Awakening event, where I was privileged to be one of the worship leaders for the gathering. Looking out from the stage, watching people walk by doing their afternoon shopping or just sitting outside sipping coffee, with buildings all around, I again imagined what it would be like if God’s glory came upon our city. This is something I have been passionate about for some time. See some of my earlier posts on this:
Since I wrote about this over a year ago, a lot of people have asked me when it’s going to happen? Honestly, it’s hard to put a timeframe on it. I suppose the Holy Spirit will engineer the right circumstances and the right people to get on board. I’m usually pretty impulsive when it comes to decision-making, because sometimes you’ve just got to do something and not think too hard about it. Over-thinking often leads to paralysis. But other times, things have to be birthed in their natural course of time and not be, as Shakespeare says, “from the womb unduly ripped”.
But yesterday, I began to imagine again what it would be like if we had a full-blown worship event right in the heart of the city. Not performance art, not creative displays, but just worship. Of course elements of art and creativity will feature, but they won’t be primarily directed at a human audience, just at God.
Isaiah 60 (The Message) says this:
Get out of bed, Jerusalem!
Wake up. Put your face in the sunlight.
God’s bright glory has risen for you.
The whole earth is wrapped in darkness,
all people sunk in deep darkness,
But God rises on you,
his sunrise glory breaks over you.
Nations will come to your light,
kings to your sunburst brightness.
Look up! Look around!
Watch as they gather, watch as they approach you:
Your sons coming from great distances,
your daughters carried by their nannies.
When you see them coming you’ll smile—big smiles!
Your heart will swell and, yes, burst!
I think I caught a small glimpse of this yesterday, leading the small but enthusiastic crowd of believers who raised their hands and voices together in worship in Forrest Place, in full view of passers-by. The promise of Isaiah is God’s glory will break over us and nations will come to this brightness. As James MacDonald says, we were created with a longing for transcendence, and God’s provision for transcendence is His glory. And I believe what bridges us to His glory is full-hearted, passionate worship.
It’s time for sacred space to be redefined!