I was stretching, reaching, lifting my hands as high as they could go, as if I could somehow touch Him- the music pounded. In that same instant I felt like I couldn’t get low enough. Like I just needed to get lower than the ground would allow. The throng of voices around us going after Jesus in adoration and exultation, praising Him, worshiping Him. I was so caught up in the moment, no longer in a concert of praise – I was standing before His throne crowning Him with many crowns… And that is when I saw her.
The women in Luke 7 who had lived a sinful life (she may as well been me). LIke a movie flashing across the walls of my heart in vivid display, she walked quietly into the room with her head down and eyes searching for Him. The one whom she was coming to serve, to lavish, to waste herself on. Wanting not to be noticed, wanting to just get to HIM and to his feet.
Quietly kneeling, taking those God feet into her hands, she begins to pour herself out, right there for everyone to see. Her pain, the years of broken bleeding hurt pouring out of her, falling onto those precious feet. The bearers of good news for her, for us, for me. She lets the tears fall hard one after the other – a torrent of baptismal water, her pain and hurt – the vehicle for her worship. Without the pain there would be no offering, no stream of water for the washing and the worshiping. Then without a sound she releases the long strands of hair that cascade towards the floor as if they have been freed from a life of bondage. Her hair is her rag, and she wipes the feet of her Savior.
And that is when I see her most clear, vivid and true- her head moving back and forth to the rhythm of the beat. Her hair swinging from side to side. The hair that He fashioned on her head, the strands that he has numbered and counted and knows by heart cleansing his perfect, wet, tear soaked feet… And the worship in this room is pounding in my chest like my own emancipation proclamation. It is in the releasing of the pain that worship is at it deepest most purest form. This offering poured out is the ultimate act of worship. Back and forth she dries his feet with her wet hair, tattered from this act of love. She is composing a music all her own, the rhythm of sacrifice and wreckage poured out for Him, on Him, to honor Him…. This is worship.
And as I look around at the mass of people standing with me I can see her heart here. I can feel it, battered and bruised and given away. Lifted up to Him in song and in spirit, laid low before Him in pure surrender. We have gathered to waste ourselves on Him, to release all that we have before Him. We have come to worship.
Or have we?
Because here in this place with chest pounding and ears ringing it is easy to release what is already His-to surrender the pain and the past and the life that we hold so dear. To lift hands and hearts in that moment of blissful fullness. But when the music begins to fade and our tired feet must walk the streets toward home, are we worshipping then? Because worship is not what we feel, but what we are willing to give away. Are we willing to turn our lives into houses of worship if it requires loss? Or do we hoard what we have and live luke warm love just trying to sooth our own hurts and mask our own pain with the next fix. The woman I saw, the one at His feet, she lived brave and bled red-hot, because what she had and who she was – she gave away to Him. She knew that giving up the NOTHING of her life to gain the EVERYTHING of His – is always the ONLY choice if you want to really live. She lived her worship, she didn’t just sing it or feel it, SHE LIVED IT, GAVE IT, SPENT IT, She was wrecked unto worship. The question is, are we?