When is the last time you worshiped with your children?
If you’re like me, when you read that question you immediately think about the last time you sang songs with your kids. Maybe even the last time you danced around the living room in an impromptu session of “Father Abraham”. Quite possibly, thoughts about young children in worship services were brought to mind. You may be a fan of children going to separate “children’s church” services. Maybe you would rather families worship together, and if you have a problem with my squirmy 3 year old, or colicky baby, deal with it. 🙂
Last week, I was with a group of pastors when we were reminded of Exodus 9:1, and the story of Moses being called by God to free His people from Egypt. Imagine me and my daughters, or a group of teens, singing with lots of energy, “Pharaoh Pharaoh, Oooooh baby let my people go, HOOUGH!, Yeah yeah yeah!!” (kids song). But for all the focus on freedom, we forget a bit of the verse. They’re not simply freed for the sake of being free:
“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” Exodus 9:1
We don’t know a ton of specifics about the living conditions of ancient Egyptian slaves, but we can assume God wasn’t simply hoping to let his people sing a song or two. It probably wasn’t just a call to allow them to pray in a public place. Here are a few things we do know:
1. They were not free. They were bound, and more than just literally. They were forced to accomplish the projects and desires of their masters. A life of worship involves not only general freedom, but the freedom to create as well.
2. Their time was consumed by serving the culture and people/masters in power/influence. A life of worship involves a “loosening” of time and commitments, allowing space for new and unplanned things to occur.
3. They were often treated/related to as a number of “things owned”. A life of worship involves a gathering of unique individuals, each allowed and called to exist and respond to God together. Such a life listens to the quiet voices, gives strength to the weak, and values all.
4. They served a society built on foundations of injustice. A life of worship involves bringing justice, as defined by God’s redemptive order – not man’s. This life proclaims by it’s very nature, the worthiness of God, and the beauty/good-ness of His creation.
What we usually mean by worship, (singing), would probably have been allowed as a slave in ancient Egypt, even if it had to be done in the privacy of their own living area. (In fact, I have proof on my VHS copy of “Prince of Egypt” as all the slaves were singing together.)
But as we see in God’s desire for His people, the conditions they lived in were not allowing them to experience True worship. Why would we settle for the kind of worship possible as slaves in Egypt?
We’ve been set free, and it’s time for us to lead our children in becoming worshipers…by involving our selves and our families in the kind of worship God set His people free toward…:)