I used to believe some mistruths about worship at church. I used to judge good worship based on who was present, what music was played, and how well I did it. If I was with people I loved being with, singing music that appealed to me, and was able to focus my thoughts appropriately, then I considered worship “good”.
But then I learned something really important about worship. Worship is not about me. At all. I still love worshipping alongside my people, and give me some Hillsong “Oceans” any day, but I know that worship is not about those things. Worship is about God. Which brings me to my problem. I still have a focus issue.
It may be about me getting older. I’m not sure. I used to be able to sit and devour a novel for hours if chose to. Now the thought of sitting down and reading an entire book or even a part of one is off putting to me. Just the idea of it gives me the heebie jeebies. My thoughts seem too busy for such intense focus as all that. I’m not happy about it, but it is what it is. On a recent vacation, I was actually able to read an entire novel (It was kind of short), but I can’t go on permanent vacation. I asked my husband, and he said no.
I don’t like the thought of losing focus. I am a firm believer that most of the problems folks face today is due to a lack of, or misdirection of, focus. I want my focus to be intentional. I want to direct my focus on the things of God. I should be better able to do that in a worship setting than any place else, right? Right. And yet still I struggle. My focus needs more focus.
I love my church. The people who attend my church are some of the best on the planet. I am not knocking the people who go to your church, I’m just saying that the ones who go to mine are stellar. If I were to peer out over different groups in the midst of worship and be asked to choose a group to worship with, the people at my church would win my vote, hands down. They are just that good.
Still, I find I am distracted. I look around me and wonder about them. Where did they come from? What brought them to our church? I like that lady’s boots, and I wonder where that other lady gets her hair cut. What a sweet little baby. And before I know it… I am distracted. It happens all the time. I know worship is not about those things. It’s not about the cameras, or musicians. It’s not about the temperature in the room or how many worshippers showed up that day. Worship is about God.
So this morning, as worship began at church, once again, I tried to focus my heart and mind on the Father. I did really try, but then these two ladies caught my eye. They were two rows in front of me, and something about them was different. They had focus. I mean laser focus. I watched them worship. These two ladies are what I would call elderly. Now our church is known for it’s loud and upbeat worship. I have seen some elderly folks who looked like they were just trying to survive our worship to get to sit down and finally listen to the message.
But not these two. They were dancing, and singing, and lifting their hands, and focused. So focused. And it was completely evident to me that while they enjoyed each other’s company during worship, they were captured by the awesomeness of God. They were enjoying the rhythm of the music, but it was the rhythm of their hearts in tune with His that motivated them. I watched them, studied them, and I was led by those two little ladies into the best worship time I’ve had in quite a while.
When church was over, I decided to chase them down and tell them how much their worship had meant to me this morning. They moved surprisingly fast for the elderly. I caught up to one and put my arm around her. She looked up into my face and tried to recognize me. I told her that she didn’t know me, but that her worship that morning had led me into the best worship time I’d had in ages.
She hugged me hard, and said in the sweetest English accent, “Well, blessings on you, and may we meet again!” And then she was gone. She told me her name was Maggie, or Margie. I asked twice, but like I said, my focus is not what it could be.
She was a short, little, white headed lady with an accent. If you go to my church, and know Maggie, or Margie with an accent, please tell her I’m not nuts. Not much anyway. Our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. That is worship. That is focus. And I am so thankful for two little older ladies who modeled that for me today.