"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?" - Psalm 8:3-4
I love the Psalms.
No matter how much groveling or asking, the psalmists almost always return to praise and worship by the end of their songs. It's as if in the midst of their distress, a child-like wondering at the expanse of who God truly is completely overpowers their emotions.
Often-times, the source of their awe and wonder is something they see in nature. Sometimes it's a theological truth or life-observation, and they are sent sprawling into compliments for our Lord. Psalm 8:3-4 is a great example.
I like to call these things "worship-triggers." Here's a loose definition: a worship trigger is anything that you sense (five primary senses) or observe that causes you to stop in your tracks and ponder the utter beauty/character/power/etc. of God.
I want to share a few of my favorite worship-triggers with you. I pray they are an encouragement!
1) Trees. Specifically, the sound of wind blowing through the trees. I don't think there is any other sound that so perfectly captures the concept of gentleness and power all at once. When I hear the wind blowing and the leaves rustling, maybe even a bird or two singing in the distance, I can't help but take a deep breath of the fresh air and admire our gentle but powerful God.
2) My wife's laughter. Or, even laughter in general--what a peculiar instance of vulnerability laughing is! Why did God even design laughter, and so many unique types, too? Laughter is healing. When I hear my wife laugh, either at one of my extremely lame jokes or at the joy of whatever we are doing, I feel thankful for life--and the Giver of life.
3) Resolving chord-structure in music. As a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, I listen to a lot of music throughout the day. In music theory, there is an occurrence where two or more notes of a certain proximity apart on the scale clash with one another, creating what is called a "dissonant" chord. When dissonant notes then move closer together or further apart on the scale thus releasing the dissonance, they are said to "resolve." This resolution is one of the most beautiful and timeless characteristics in the history of music, and I get chills thinking of the complexity and knowledge of the Creator of music itself.
I recently finished reading what has become my favorite book of all time, The Practice of the Presence of God, written by Brother Lawrence. Once a soldier, the young author joined a monastery after a dramatic conversion to following Jesus and was tasked as the kitchen manager and sandal-repairer for the group of studious men. His tasks were the most menial of the bunch, but he found (and wrote about) a profound delight in simply acknowledging God's presence moment-to-moment.
“He does not ask much of us, merely a thought of Him from time to time, a little act of adoration, sometimes to ask for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, at other times to thank Him for the graces, past and present, He has bestowed on you, in the midst of your troubles to take solace in Him as often as you can. Lift up your heart to Him during your meals and in company; the least little remembrance will always be the most pleasing to Him. One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think.”
We worship an amazing God. What are some of your worship-triggers? Let us know in the comment section below!
-written by Chase Cotten, Media Director @ IDES