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Worship as Visceral, Whole Body Experience – Psalm 63

December 5th, 2011 · No Comments · Bible, Christianity, Church, Church of Christ, Old Testament, Psalms, Religion, Worship

A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.

1 O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

6 On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

9 They who seek my life will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals.

11 But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God’s name will praise him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

When did David actually see God in the sanctuary? How did David’s soul cling to God? How is a soul able to thirst? For David worship was visceral. It was real and powerful and profound. It wasn’t a mental exercise. It came out of real circumstances (in this instance time in the desert). It was an outpouring of everything. Worship was a complete unity of worshiper to the worshiped. It captured all the senses and involved all of David’s attention. It wasn’t singing through a song because it happened to be the one projected on the screen. It wasn’t going through motions, checking boxes, or a mental exercise. For David, worship was an exercise of the soul. It was a response to the reality of the presence of God. Worship was so real and powerful to David that it was in that moment that the unseen became so real, so present, so heavy, that he was able to say he had seen the Lord and beheld him. That is real, powerful and profound.

How do we make Sunday seem like anything but ordinary? How do we take the routine out of Sunday worship and reconnect it with the heart and soul of worshiper and the worshiped? When was the last time worship felt like that for you?


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  • lowdhamstation

    When I get time, I sing American Shape Note music (yes, there is quite a following here in the UK), and I find some of them especially worshipful, despite being predominantly 200-300 years old.

    Here are the words of one of my favourites, (and as well as lovely words, it also has a great tune). The words were written by Isaac Watts, in 1719.

    Early, my God, without delay,
    I haste to seek Thy face;
    My thirsty spirit faints away
    Without Thy cheering grace.
    So pilgrims on the scorching sand,
    Beneath a burning sky,
    Long for a cooling stream at hand,
    And they must drink or die.

    I’ve seen Thy glory and Thy power
    Through all Thy temple shine;
    My God, repeat that heav’nly hour,
    That vision so divine.
    Not all the blessings of a feast
    Can please my soul so well,
    As when Thy richer grace I taste,
    And in Thy presence dwell.

    The first verse is saying that I need a daily ‘dose’ of God’s grace just as much as a pilgrim in the desert needs water to survive.

    [If you are interested, the music can be found at, or previewed at (track 15)]

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