W is for WORSHIP
We were created to worship, and we worship because he is worthy.
Sometimes I am surprised to find myself here. Holding a guitar or raising my hands in this huge auditorium named after John R. Mott. I started my life on the mission field, after all, and by the age of nineteen had signed away at least 4 years worth of my life in commitment cards. But He keeps bringing me back here. I am currently part of the house of prayer that fuels 90 hours a week of live worship in Mott Auditorium. Sixty years after Mott's own body was laid to rest, this monument to a missionary statesman now houses the beating hearts of young worshippers. Day and night, they sing their agreement with Mott's desire to see "the evangelization of the world in our generation," with words like these: "That You would be loved, that You would be adored...by every tongue and nation" (Brymer).
It seems to me that the happy surprise of this inextricable relationship--worship and mission--is a common one, finding us each at various junctures of our scriptural journeys.
Let's say, for example, that I'm a "worship person" with a massive collection of Bethel Music, a penchant for prophetic conferences, and a faint impression of unreached peoples. I am studying Isaiah 6, and love imagining the vision of the Lord sitting on his throne, the seraphim singing, and the always-hard-to-picture train of his robe is filling the temple. I could gaze on this picture in my mind's eye for hours, when suddenly, in the words of the scripture, I hear him speaking. "Whom will we send, and who will go for us?" It seems like the seraphim are silent. I don't see the robe or the temple, all I can hear is the same note of desire that pierces me when Jesus says, "I have sheep of another fold." And without thinking of the glorious worship I will leave behind, I scream "Send me!"
Or let's say I am a "missional person," with a running tally of how many languages still need a Bible translation, and an uncanny ability to name three unreached people groups in any given state of Sudan, and a faint impression of Bethel Music, formed around one song about "the sake of the world." I have experienced the urgency of "Send me!"... but as I meditate on the scripture, I find myself looking at that throne. High. Exalted. I hear the song of "Holy, holy, holy," and I find myself thinking, "Oh, that the whole earth would be filled with this kind of glory.
Whoever we are, and however we read this passage, we see both worship and mission. If we worship without responding to His desire, we are heartless, and if we go without first worshipping, we are short-sighted. Our vision must start with His eternal glory.
I have no doubt that as we seek Him, He will send us. Again and again and again.
And if we have gone, and somehow lost our vision, let us return to the sanctuary of His presence. He will surely open our eyes to His beauty, and share with us the burning of His heart.
Suzanne Harlan is the Co-Director of worship at PIHOP (Pasadena International House of Prayer)