Worship As Reality

It was bound to happen at some point. To be honest, I am surprised it hadn't happened before now. I woke up yesterday morning with a migraine or cluster or really-really-really bad headache. I don’t know what to call them because they have never been officially diagnosed; Mom called them "sick headaches" when I was growing up. Most people on Mom's side of the family get them-- they call it "the Copeland Curse." I call just them migraines because "bad headache" just doesn't do them justice. I don't get them that often, and I have never had a bad one on Sunday when I had to preach. Until yesterday. Yesterday morning I was hurting so bad that instead of reading through the full sermon like I usually do, I laid down in the auditorium beside the pulpit and slept for 25 minutes. (Hey, other people sleep through my sermons...).

But as the worship started, I really stopped thinking about how bad I was hurting. I forced myself to sing, and the more I did, the less distracting was my pain. By the time I got up to preach, I didn't even notice the headache at all. (I did notice that I hadn't "rehearsed" the material as much as I usually do). I got through the sermon and the rest of the service and felt uplifted and refocused by the experience. And then I went home and was miserable sick the rest of the day.

I guess I could chalk this up to adrenaline kicking in and getting me through the sermon, like the athlete who plays hurt. But I also believe that the worship itself was a distraction that got my focus off my immediate problem and centered me in the eternal. I know from experience that these headaches don't last forever, though they sometimes seem like they will. But the truths that we sang, prayed and communed about are eternal ands real. There was something about losing myself in worship that got me over the immediate pain.

Worship as a distraction? In reality, worship centers us on what is REAL and helps us not to focus so much on the distractions around us. Worship reminds us that "God is and all is well" even as we hurt. Asaph struggled when he saw the prosperity of godless, wicked people. This caused for him a faith crisis, "I had almost lost my foothold" (Psa 73:2). He goes on to discuss his envy of the wicked rich around him who thumbed their bose at God and seemed to prosper anyway. What transformed his thinking was worship. He writes, "till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny" (Psalm 73:17). Worship re-centered him in the reality that transcends the temporary pain and injustice of our world. Worship reminds us of what is real. In worship we sing, “I place you on the highest place…” In doing so, we remind ourselves that God is God over our pain, struggle, doubt and fear. Worship remind us of reality; worship becomes reality.