If you’re anything like me, and involved in your church worship or tech team, the pandemic has meant you’ve suddenly had to come up with ways of worshipping together without singing.
It has been fascinating to realise how much of our services are based around things we now can’t do - singing, shaking hands, or even drinking tea together!
At first it was a big shock to the system to have services without communal song, but I've since found the past few months to be a great opportunity to explore other forms of worship.
1. Tell a story
A good story can be so uplifting and inspiring. Using words - talking to someone, or writing things out - also helps to process what we’re thinking and feeling. Words can be an evocative tool for worship, and really arrest the imagination.
Jesus told relatable parables (short stories spoken out loud) to paint a picture of God’s relationship to humanity. The Bible also uses a lot of poetry to evoke strong images.
Write your own psalm. Psalm 136 tells a communal history of God’s relationship with Israel. Write out your relationship with God: What you are thankful for? What has he brought you through? Who has he been to you?
Pick your favourite parable and write it out in your own words. Set it in a place and time you recognise. Who would the Good Samaritan be in our modern culture?
2. Make it visual
Many of us have taken up new hobbies like arts and crafts to pass the time and lift our moods, especially as these things don't have to involve a computer screen. Visual arts can be great tools for worship, plus, you have an artwork you can enjoy afterwards.
In Exodus, artisans were among the first people to receive the Holy Spirit to empower them for creative work like embroidery, carpentry and metalwork. God used visual art like the Tabernacle to represent his relationship with humanity.
Artwork such as Charlie Mackesey's bestseller The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse has given so many people hope throughout the pandemic.
Adult colouring books can be a good place to meet with God if you’re just starting out in visual art. In Christian editions of these books you can colour biblical scenes and nature scapes. The colours carry different meanings, such as the crimson and white of salvation and forgiveness in Isaiah 1:18.
Put some worship music on, wait on God and see what images he gives you. Use these as inspiration to draw, paint, or create.
3. Get moving
We all know that David danced before the Lord as part of his worship. But not many of us think of ourselves as dancers. That’s why I prefer the word 'movement' - we were all made to move.
Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and moving can help you focus on your worship or prayer, and stop you being so easily distracted.
Many of the miracles in the Bible are accompanied by movements - Moses raising a staff, a woman breaking a flask of perfume, the breaking of bread etc.
And as an added bonus, lockdown means it’s more important than ever that we keep fit, and movement helps us do just that.
Start with a passage you know well, like the fruit of the Spirit, the armour of God or the Lord’s prayer. Go through the scripture and find an action for each phrase. For example, step into the shoes of peace in Ephesians 6.
If you are someone who exercises, or you do light stretching to release a stiff back after a day of working from home, you can worship as part of your routine. Turn a standard warm-up or stretch into a prayer: as you stretch each part of your body, pray about the Word being a light to your path. As you stretch your arms, ask God whom you should reach out to and help, and so on.
If you’re a dancer and enjoy online Zumba or dance fitness, find a Christian track that you can practice your routines to, or an online worship dance class.
Bring it all together.
If you’ve written a psalm or parable, can you create movements to go with it, or create a visual piece from it?
We’re all creative beings because our God is creative. What new ways of worshipping can you try during lockdown?
Steven Turner is a creative worship facilitator, helping people use art to worship God individually and in church.
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