Friday, October 31, 2014

What A Ten-Year-Old's Devotion To His Favorite Band Can Teach Us About Worship

Martin, age ten, surrounded by members of the "OK Go" Band
Something very special happened last week to Martin Vlasits of Austin, Texas, ten-year-old grandson of our good friends Guy and Margie Vlasits. His parents Jen and Stacy took him to hear his favorite music group, the Los Angelos-based "OK Go" band, known for eye-catching videos lots of children like and for the benefit concerts they do for causes like homelessness, disaster relief and human rights.

Not only did Martin get a front row seat, but got the special attention of the drummer, Dan Konopka, who gave him his drumsticks, autographed with the names of the members of the band.

Needless to say, Martin was ecstatic.

One of the meanings of the word "ecstasy" is "a mental transport or rapture from the contemplation of divine things", from the Greek "ek" (from) and "stasis" (place). In worship (attributing supreme "worth" or "worthiness" to) we are moved from one level, or place, to a higher one, and are transformed into more God-likeness in the process.

What can Martin's experience teach us about how we grownups can do this?

Several words come to mind:

1. Anticipation/Preparation. To say that Martin looked forward to this encounter would be a serious understatement. He was beyond eager to experience something impactful and moving, as illustrated by this Lego creation he came up with prior to the concert, which says "I can hardly wait" loudly and clearly.

2. Creativity/Engagement. Martin wasn't just a passive spectator at the concert, but an active participant. He came with a special offering of an art project he had made that matched the color of each band member's outfit in one of his favorite videos. He applauded and cheered the object of his devotion with abandonment and a complete lack of self-consciousness, introduced himself to his heroes afterwards and then had his picture taken with them.

What would happen if we adults took part in worship with the same kind of child-like attention and receptivity Martin experienced with his favorite band? What kind of art, music, poetry or other expressions would it evoke? What changes of behavior, what deeds of service, would result from our loving God with our whole being--and urgently praying for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven?

Surely any appointments we keep with the Almighty--with the Creator, Lord and Redeemer of all the earth--should never be a dull or boring experience. Genuine love and adoration always result in ek-stasis, a joyful change of place and perspective

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God. 
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
Psalm 42:1-2 (NIV)

Photos by Stacy Vlasits.
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