Seasons of Worship
by Jann Ballard Patterson
Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to Him! ~ Psalm 96:1
I'm thinking of the effects 'wind' has on me...there are the blustery winds of spring. I call them 'Winnie the Pooh days'. They bring anticipation of change and with it usually, the motivation to work...like preparing the soil to plant new crops or flowers. It is like an 'awakening time' that is also evident in nature; things coming to life, new beginnings. This brings to mind the times of worship when we just spontaneously begin to sing our praise to the Lord. A new, fresh song, birthed from the heart of our spirit. The melody and lyrics flow like the winds of spring, bringing a sense of refreshing and renewal. I love those times.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. ~ Psalm 46:1
And then there are the stormy winds of early summer that come with luminous clouds in the horizon that could be indicative of impending threats to our circle of life. It brings a desire to huddle together, make contact, give warnings, and sometimes hunker down in a safe place. I think of times when the storms of life hit and we run into the Presence of God for refuge. We find Him to be the Source of our Strength, the One Who never changes; Faithful God. I am blessed to know that He gives grace to us to worship Him when the winds of tribulation are blowing fierce; to sing of His excellent ways, when those ways are seemingly hidden behind dark clouds.
...that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; ~ Acts 3:19
Also, there are the hot stifling winds of late summer when the 'heat is on' (at least it is here in the South). Even when the wind is blowing, it is not that soothing, calming wind. It is more like standing in front of a forced air heater in the middle of the Sahara desert! I compare this to times that we could use to reflect on matters of the heart. We can become pre-occupied sometimes, in thinking of ways that we can change our discomfort, instead of letting God change us. We seek out artificial comfort, aka Air Conditioning! Don't get me wrong, I thank God for the blessing of air conditioning, but still, there is something about the outdoors that we miss and need; the fresh air, the real thing. But, because the heat is unbearable, and any kind of breeze seems to be of no avail in bringing relief, we remain confined inside, in our ACZ (Artificial Comfort Zone). It is here in this 'artificial' zone that we like to escape from the 'heat' of Summer. In our personal lives, sometimes we try to escape from our 'discomfort zones' into artificial comforts, instead of dealing with the real issues that sometimes weigh us down; the sins that easily beset us. When the heat of temptation is on and we find ourselves compromising our standards is when we need to find our stability again in His righteousness. Singing the song of repentance in worship to our gracious forgiving God brings healing to our soul and refreshing to our spirit.
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified. ~ Isaiah 61:3
In Aesop's fable, The Sun and the Wind, the fable tells of how the sun and the wind were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveler coming down the road, and the Sun said, 'I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveler to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin.'...the fable ends in favor of the Sun. The Wind's intense blowing only caused the traveler to tighten his cloak around himself. The heat eventually causes the traveler to discard his cloak.
The harsh cold wind of winter can seem cruel and destructive. Its bite can be bitter. Things go underground in nature, and like the traveler in Aesop's fable sometimes we withdraw, or pull into our selves, because the circumstances around us seem harsh and cold. Life can seem empty and lifeless. A cold bitter heart is a very lonely place. Only the warmth of God's love and the Grace that He is always ready to give to us so that we could forgive those who have trespassed against us brings healing. He is in favor of us discarding that heavy cloak of unforgiveness!
Now...having said ALL that I am remembering back to what triggered my thoughts on this matter, about 'Entering into the Rest of God' especially through the seasons of worship.
In Hebrews 4:11 we are told to strive or labour to enter the rest God has promised for those who believe. The word 'rest' comes from the Greek word Katapausis (kat-ap'-ow-sis) meaning, calming of the wind. I love that! It has been said that it is, 'the place of rest...where God meets with us... in the upper room of our heart.' It is from the heart of our spirit that we worship Him; in the calmness of His Presence.
Intimacy is something that occurs from interacting with the love of our life. It comes often after much effort has been made through effective, heartfelt communication and self denial. It can truly be a labour of love. The act of laboring gets us to the place of rest (the calmness of His abiding Presence). Sounds discouraging, but NO...the act or labour of love builds muscle, stamina, strength, experience, and determination to finish the course. It is actually translated to the English verb meaning: to hasten, make haste or to exert one's self, endeavor, give diligence to something.
This rest is more like an abode, a place of dwelling, and it is permeated with the calming wind of God's presence, and all that this in-tells. It's a place of intimate peace, intimate joy, intimate refreshing, intimate counsel, intimate knowledge of who we are in Him, and Who He is in us!
The meeting place is the upper room of our heart: The upper room in the Jewish culture was the highest part of the house, the upper rooms or story, where the women resided. It was a room in the upper part of a house, sometimes built upon the flat roof of the house, where middle-eastern people would retire in order to sup, meditate, or pray.
So allegorically speaking, the upper room of the heart of the spirit is a place of privacy, as well as a place of protection, intimacy, and fellowship. It is where we really live. When the winds of life come, and they will... through worship we have a place of calmness and security, ongoing peace that passes all human understanding. The place where we not only meet with God, but we learn to live with Him there.
Hebrews 4:11 ~ (NASB) Let us be diligent to enter into that rest...
Psalm 91:1 ~ He that dwells in the Secret Place of the Most High shall abide under the Shadow of the Almighty.
Acts 1:8 ~ And when the day of Pentecost was FULLY COME, they were gathered together in an UPPER ROOM in ONE ACCORD.
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