I love watching my daughter playing in the backyard. At two years old, everything is new. She enjoys hunting dandelions and asks what the leaves and the pinecones and the buds on the branches are. Every bug is a ladybug and she constantly asks “What that Mommy?” What I love the most about her backyard adventures is the complete joy she takes in discovering something new. She roams around the yard, no knowing what she will discover around the next corner or under the next rock.
This reminds me of how we should approach our faith and worship. But all too often, worship becomes routine, something that we do out of habit instead of a desire to praise the God who loves us. How often have we come to worship and only half listened to the prayers, only half paid attention to the words of the songs we sin? Or what about when, upon hearing the scripture text we thought, “I know this story” and tune out until it is over? Scripture then, also becomes routine, something we fully pay our attention to only when it is a story we are not familiar with… and then it is something we need to conquer and dissect.
Instead, we need to kindle a child-like attitude toward worship. Jesus said “come to me like a little child”. In part this means coming to worship in an attitude that sees it as unknown territory to explore; expecting to encounter something new under the rock of scripture; to discover how God is moving and breathing among us. One way we do this at my church is when we worship in creative ways. The liturgical art and interactive worship opportunities enable us to see a familiar story or concept in a new way. They provide a different lens through which to perceive timeless truths.
I pray that along this journey of faith we keep our sense of wonder and exploration, like a child discovering the joys of God’s creation of the first time, when we come to worship every week. May we put aside the idea that there is nothing new to discover and open of hearts to hearing in new and fresh ways the living Word of God.