Omni Directional Christian
Having been a soloist and amateur actress for…ahem…awhile, I know a little bit about microphones. I have used lapel microphones in stage productions, omni directional microphones in groups and unidirectional microphones as a soloist. The latter is used by a singer because it picks up only his/her voice, not background noise, producing a more pure sound. Simply put, omni directional microphones pick up sound in a circle. One day last week, it occurred to me that worship can be omni directional. I decided I want to be an omni directional Christian and worship God from all directions.
Here’s what I mean. Worship can be lifted up to God in praise; we can worship Him by adoring his majesty and the wonders of His creation. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Psalm 63:3-4. We can raise our hands up to Him in adoration and clap! He is pleased when we lift our hearts up in prayer and speak to Him out loud. We can even worship God by lifting up a child or taking the hand of someone we love.
Worshipping down means humbling yourself before God, asking for forgiveness when you’ve blown it and knowing Christ has already paid the price for that sin you committed. Consider Jesus in the garden. In Matthew 26:39, it says Jesus “fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Here was the Son of God, falling on His face! He was humble and obedient, even though He knew He would die. You and I can also worship down when we bend to speak to an elderly person in a wheelchair, or to a sick patient in a hospital bed.
Up, down and around. How do you worship around? I got the inspiration for this devotional in an unlikely place…the oncology center in Thomasville. I had my three-month follow up appointment with my new hematologist last week. The center is an impressive place, but it is so quiet! Patients sit with family members, get coffee or juice, but rarely do you hear people converse. This day was different. I sat down and was soon joined by an older lady; I don’t know whether she was a patient or the family member of a patient. She was the perfect example of someone worshipping around. She turned to the gentleman sitting between us and asked how he was doing. I could tell the man didn’t really want to talk, but she was so engaging and determined to cheer him up. I smiled at her and she proceeded to tell me that “as long as we’re breathing, we should be thanking the Lord! Look at all the beauty around us,” she proclaimed, “How can anybody not believe in God and be thankful for all He’s done?”
Her attitude helped me realize that I am not always an omni directional Christian. When I was ill, I let my circumstances prevent me from worshipping up, down and around. Oh, I prayed and I thanked God for my life and family and His provision. But I neglected to thank Him for my circumstances, even though it was through those circumstances God would teach me one of the most important lessons of my life. Since the death of our twins, I had at times indulged in self pity. Somehow, I equated suffering with righteousness. When I recognized my sin and asked for God’s forgiveness, He gave me the peace only He can give. At times, self pity creeps back into my mind, but now I recognize it and squash the indulgence (yes, it is indulgent) before it takes hold. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2.
There are many omni directional believers in scripture: King David, Daniel, Mary, our Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul. In His last letter to Timothy, written shortly before his death, Paul encouraged his protégé and exclaimed the Lord strengthened him, “so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” 2 Timothy 4:17-18. Even facing imminent death, Paul was an omni directional follower of Jesus Christ.
Are you an omni directional Christian? If not, ask God to show you how to worship him up, down and around. Just like Paul.
I can relate to your experiences, all except for the cancer; however, I have experienced talking to other patients while getting therapy for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Also, I have had the blessing of being ministered to in the hospital, while our son was in ICU for 2 3/4 months. In turn, the Lord led me to other people there that needed a prayer or to talk. And I had the privilege of watching my husband lead a nurse to Christ at that time. One of the other nurses had sown the seeds. And I can relate to pulling inward, instead of outward when I have been very ill or deeply hurt. I like your metaphor for worship.