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Extravagant Worship

Extravagant Worship: A Celebration of Sound, Movement and Display

Through my journey with redemptive gifts over the past 9 years, I have discovered many valuable treasures and insights, one of them is that God intended all the gifts to flow in a beautiful synergy, uniting much like an orchestra.  Each musician plays their own instrument, but in tune, in harmony with each of the other instruments to produce the most beautiful symphony.

Yet in that togetherness there is a place for individuality.  Long before the orchestra can play together, there are many hours of practising alone until you can play your own tune with excellence.  The culmination of many hours of practice is the honour of the solo performance, yet the orchestra does not disappear in that moment – they either wait silently or softly play in the background and enjoy the solo performance of their fellow orchestra member, rejoicing with the musician in the beauty of the moment.

Such is the image I have of worship in the body of Christ.  Worship is meant to be an orchestra ascribing glory and honour to the most High God, and it will and should include the solo performance.

I think the African cultures demonstrate this so beautifully when, in their traditional dancing, they dance in a circle and every tribe member gets a chance to dance a solo performance in the middle of the circle – lots of fun and everyone enjoys it, yet every individual’s performance is unique and different.  So – I invite you, to come and stand in a circle or play in the orchestra and savour an exhorter’s solo performance of extravagant worship in God’s Kingdom:

In the beginning God created the heavens and all that is in it, the galaxies, the planets, the suns, moons and stars.  He placed them in the skies to represent day and night.

In the day the sun brings heat and light and life to all that grows and lives on earth.  Just like Christ brings us life and warmth for spirit, soul and body.  He enlightens our eyes so we can see the beauty and splendour of His creation in all the shades of colour possible.  We feast on the Garden of Eden, we can see, smell, taste the goodness of life in Him in the garden.

He made the planets and the stars, the galaxies and placed them in the night skies to forever shine, bling, display, to move, spin and orbit around in joy.  They never cease to move and dance around, never tiring, always joyful with a twinkle and a fire in the eyes.  Created to represent the thousands and thousands of generations of worshippers (Gen 15:5) who bring honour and praise to the King of Kings, they invite us to worship with sound and movement and display.  These three elements are ever so important in exhorter worship, and so powerful in the hand of the Holy Spirit, yet so misunderstood and perverted by an enemy who fears extravagant worship of the sovereign God.

Yet, the heavens invite us to join in the declaration of His glory (Ps 19) night after night… day after day… Singing and dancing in honour of our covenant keeping God (Gen 15:5), they invite us to move and shout out and display the glory of the King forever and ever.  They invite us to join in the celebration of Him with thousands of generations before us and those who will come after us, never to envision a moment without celebrating in His honour.

The heavens declare the glory of God, the firmament shows off His handiwork and they continuously celebrate all of it – the fullness thereof.  They utter speech day after day revealing knowledge night after night (Ps19).  Their voices are heard in every tongue by every tribe and nation, having heard and seen the Glory of God and their celebration of Him.  Their sound goes out to all the earth, their words to the end of the worlds.  They carry the message of Christ deep in their very being, deep calling out to ever so much deeper, the depth, height and width of the universe too small to contain the hugeness of their God.

In the midst of the heavens He has set a tabernacle for the sun (Ps 19) just like He has set a tabernacle for Himself, the Bridegroom, in the midst of His people, His bride, to provide a picture, an illustration of heaven (Hebrews 9).   He who is the light built a place of worship in the desert, a tabernacle, so He could fill it with a celebration of His Glory through movement, sound and display (Ex 36-40).  He chose Moses to build it in the exhorter key of music.  He stirred up the hearts of the artists and artisans to build with precision and decorate it with prophetic purpose and splendour.   He instituted the priestly service (Leviticus 8) and filled it once again with purposeful sound, movement and display.  In the movement of the sin, wave and other offerings, He was honoured and praised, for the Law of the Lord is perfect, it converts the soul.   The testimony of Him is without doubt sure, right and pure.  It makes the simple wise, it causes the heart to rejoice and it enlightens the eyes (Ps 19), removing the blindness of the soul heeding His warning, and in keeping His commandments there is great reward.

In the movement and display of the High priest’s garment the bells sounded, the gemstones glittered.  The colours weaved and flowed together in perfect harmony as they were woven into luxurious, embroidered, texture-rich fabrics.   The movement of the fire of the lampstand, the beauty of its intricate patterns set in gold, the aroma of the specially crafted oil for the lamp that was to display its light night and day.  The glorious intimate presence of the Bridegroom in the fire and the cloud hovering on the throne of grace and mercy, displaying His intimate, soft, graceful yet overwhelmingly powerful presence.  Wonder-creating, Awe-inspiring sights and sounds and continuous movement.

Feast after feast He was celebrated with the sound and movement and display of worship, drawing the sinner into an experience of redemption, obedient and reverential fear and Awe of an Almighty God.  Awe for the beauty and splendour of the Bridegroom, for His Holiness, Righteousness and Justness.  When looking into the skies we have Awe for the sheer size, the hugeness of the eternity of eternities displayed in the ever-moving galaxies and knowing that it is a fraction of the greatness of our God.  The endlessness of the universe a demonstration of the endlessness of our God.

Even when days are dark and the chariots of the enemy gathers in their multitudes, Yahweh Shabuoth comes with sound, movement and display and in His might He makes the sun and moon and stars stand still (Joshua 10).  In a moment all of the earth, and everything that is in it, together with the entire universe is holding its breath in a moment of silence and breath-taking Awe of the display of the sovereign might and all-powerfulness of our God.  With the sound of His mighty thunder and the fierce movement of the hail and the display of His lightning He overcomes the enemy and renders them powerless and it would not be the first nor the last time.  In Judges 4, 5 as His people face the formidable enemy of the Canaanites with their 900 chariots, He once again  thunders His mighty sound from heaven and releases the display of lightning into the heavens declaring the end to His enemy, rendering the weapons of warfare of the Canaanite null and void, stripping the soldiers of their weapons, displaying their vulnerability.  He empowers the believer with His Spirit to overcome the enemy stuck on the muddy river banks, and celebrate profoundly afterwards as Deborah and Barak – the only judges to celebrate the victory – join together in an Awe-filled celebration of the victory handed to them.  In Judges 5:20 there are these amazing few words that states: “They fought from the heavens, the stars from their courses fought against Sisera!”  I really do not have an idea what that means in practice, but what I do know, is that a formidable enemy with formidable weapons was made null and void when God sounded, moved and displayed His might and glory in and through the heavens and the stars!  What an awesome God!

Therefore, ascribe unto the Lord beauty and glory and strength.  Give Him the glory as is due to His Name. Worship the Lord in the beauty (display) of His Holiness (Ps 29).  His voice is over the waters, His glory thunders. His Voice (sound) is powerful and full of majesty.  His Voice makes the cedars break and makes them skip like a calf (movement).  It divides the flames of fire and shakes the wilderness.  His Voice makes the deer give birth, strips the forests bare and in His temple all cries ‘Glory’.  He sits enthroned on the flood, He is King forever.  He gives strength to His people and He blesses His people with peace.

Oh Lord, come move my heart into meditation of your glory and holiness and righteousness and justice.  Let the sounds, words of my mouth and meditations be acceptable in your sight O Lord my strength and my redeemer (Ps 19).  Fill my heart with Awe of you forever and ever.

And so the solo performance comes to an end – for now, however the celebration of my God will never end. Eternity will be too short to worship through every piece of scripture, every revelation of His character.  Celebrating with sound, movement and display has a whole new meaning in my spiritual walk.  Sound to me represents Father God.  It is His Voice that speaks.  Display to me represents Jesus Christ our Messiah.   He became flesh and came to live among us (John 1), displaying every aspect of God to us in human form.  Movement to me represents the Holy Spirit.  In Him we move and live and have our being (Acts 17:28).  Selah!

© 2019 Author Gerda Venter

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