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Wonder of God in Worship

LaMar Boschman

In our fast-paced world full of the noise of talking heads, do you ever stop to wonder at
the great, cosmic mysteries? The act seems so basic but can be so powerful. It goes beyond
mere speculation—wonder.
Wonder is rare in our contemporary worship; it is missing in our culture. The mysterious
and the spiritual are represented digitally in movies, and now when we read passages in the
Bible, we say, “I saw that movie!” But as with any drama or church play, when you take the
mysterious and try to make it tangible, it isn’t quite like you imagined. Something’s missing.
There’s nothing wrong with theater, drama or film; they are our attempts at portraying. But how
many realize that our best representation with the finest digital effects isn’t anywhere close to
what the spiritual realm is really like?
We all think we know about God. We read our Bibles, listen to sermons, read books and
listen to CDs that explain what God is all about. We outline the Bible, ana lyze his attributes, and
chart the future. We feel we’ve got it all figured out. Ask us anything, and we have the answers.
The transcendent becomes the trite.
Is there a higher worship model? Generally, the worship of our day is so produced and
performed that it often lacks mystery and the supernatural. I am fascinated by the concept that
Christianity is an Eastern faith, and the ancient mystic musicians would play intuitively upon
their Hebraic instruments and touch the spiritual. The Western musicians of today have degrees
and work hard to present their music as art. For so many of these professionals, unless it’s
scored, arranged, printed and published, they can’t play it, so they can’t play intuitively. They
can’t be spontaneous a new song fresh from their heart in worship. They need something that has
been published.
In our day, wonder is replaced by formulas. We think success is guaranteed when certain
steps are followed. So we preach messages that merely convey information and sing songs we
practiced and neither is worship. The mystery and the wonder of the Lord and his kingdom are
lost in the explained and the contained.
We have become victims of definitions, analyses, outlines, charts and procedures. The
church used to live on the dangerous edge of the miraculous, but now we live in the safe fences

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of our explanations. And we dare not venture out to where the bushes are burning and men lay
prostrate before the transcendent glory of God.
The word wonder is associated with amazement and surprise. When’s the last time you
had surprise in your worship service? What about astonishment, bewilderment, admiration, awe
and fascination? Wonder is not a casual emotion or shallow excitement. It has width and depth.
It takes your breath away. It overwhelms you with a mixture of gratitude and love, adoration and
reverence. When you get off the road of the explained and the defined and get lost in the forest
of his greatness, then transcendent worship can begin.
Yet wonder is not born in ignorance, but in knowledge—as a biologist knows about a
flower, the more he is amazed by it. If we want to achieve fuller worship, we must preach at a
higher level – declaring the attributes of the kingdom or the nature of God. Some people may
whisper “Yes!” “Yes!” Others may bow their heads in holy silence dropping tears on their
Bibles.
We need to preach and sing more of Him, his person, his character, his greatness and
grandeur, his mystery and majesty. Then worshipers will be caught up in the wonder of his
holiness – His otherness. For worship is more than singing down a song list. Worshipers who
have an appetite for the wonder of God may lift their faces and hands to heaven. They may sing
outside of the arrangement and color outside of the lines. When the practiced and performed
song ends, they don’t. They just keep going on and on because that is what worshippers do who
have seen the Lord high and lifted up. Wonder. It will take your breath away.
To wonder in worship is to see more of the invisible, to know more of the unknowable, to
comprehend more the incomprehensible, and experience the eternal. Moses saw the glory and
power of God on Sinai. Ezekiel saw the glory of the Lord standing upright. Isaiah heard the
singing seraphs before the throne. Daniel saw the courts of heaven and the great ancient of days
seated as Judge. The disciples heard a sound from heaven and saw flames of fire on top of
human beings. And John saw the throne and angels, elders and creatures. This is wonder.
I long for the place in worship where we will be impregnated by the power of the
wondrous and overwhelmed by the mystery of God. Preach, pray and play songs of Jesus the
lamb slain, who died and was buried, who rose again and sits at the right hand of His Majesty on
high. When we sing those songs, pray those prayers, and preach those messages on the street
and in the sanctuary worship will occur, and heaven and earth will kiss. Then worship as

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usual—form without force and liturgy without life—will give way to the mystery and awe of
wonder.
- LaMar Boschman is Dean of the International Worship
Institute and president of WorshipInstitute.com. He is the
author of numerous books on worship including Songs from
the Other Side and Exploring the Mysteries of Worship. For
more information see www.WorshipInstitute.com