Recently, I found myself in a stance of accidental worship.
A friend and I were in a stadium, surrounded by some two or three thousand other people, to see Pentatonix in concert. If you aren’t familiar with Pentatonix, they are a five-member a cappella musical group. And if, somehow, you’re not familiar with what a cappella music is, it’s basically vocal magic (go look it up).
Somewhere between a beatboxing solo and a Rhianna tribute mashup, I realized that my posture had shifted from simple enjoyment of the music, to one of sincere worship. If you’re a religious person, you’ll likely understand what I mean here. There is a difference between consuming beauty - in any of its many forms - and allowing beauty to transform you from the inside out.
Consumption of beauty leads to enjoyment, but the transformative power of beauty leads to the soul expressing pure awe and thankfulness. And what is pure awe and thankfulness but the very definition of worship?
This is my understanding of worship now, but this has not always been the case. In fact, I grew up believing that if anything within the “secular” realm evoked a sense of worshipfulness in a person, that they must be engaging in idolatry.
So when I found myself engaging in “accidental worship” at a secular concert, I immediately began to panic. Was I directing glory towards something other than the Divine? Was I breaking God’s heart? Was I engaging in the humanism my upbringing told me was tantamount to devil-worship?!
Whoa, Rebecca. Pause. Breathe.
One of the things I love most about my post-deconstruction faith is that I now have the option to consult something other than the Westminster Larger Catechism, or last Sunday’s sermon (or my own internalized shame) when faced with a question of how God feels about me at a given time. I can actually ask God.
I forget sometimes, that in a moment of panic I have the option to check in with the Divine.
So I did. I turned to God with my fear and confusion and was met with an overwhelming measure of peace.
“Who was it who made the human voice? Who created music? Whose grace brought you to this moment? Whose Spirit lives inside you and guides you into all truth and goodness? Who delights in your delight?”
“You,” I think I actually said aloud. “But these thousands of people aren’t here to worship. We’re here to be entertained.”
“So? Who said you’re not here to worship? You can worship me whenever and wherever and however you want. And who knows? Maybe your worship will bless the thousands. Anyway, I like it.”