Can Old Men Dream Dreams?
Because we upgraded our cable tv line to get more HD channels, I now get a channel that basically shows live rock concerts from around the world with tens of thousands of people in mash pits jumping up and down because they have been orchestrated to do so by the entertainer. It is impressive to see the massive sea of people, as far as the eye can see and the front third pogo-sticking in unity. There is a Christian counterpart called Creation (and the year) held at Agape Farm in Shirleysburg, Pennsylvania every year that attracts over 100,000 people to it. It too is quite a theatrical production of continuous Christian bands and artists for three and one half days.
This made me reflect to my presence at Creation’s first year of existence and the Jesus rallies of the 1970’s which I faithfully attended in my youth. Being among tens of thousands of people at a concert is an experience one never forgets. Worshiping among that many believers in unity is life changing. I remember worshiping beside a lady who claimed to be a Byzantine Catholic. I did not know what a Byzantine Catholic was, or stood for, or believed, but I knew Jesus and so did she, so we worshiped Jesus together in unity. When in worship, there were no labels, no age barriers, no theological differences, no sexual or economical preferences, just believers with raised hands or holding hands on bended knees praying in unity. That corporate worship experience is phenomenal.
At one Jesus rally in the ‘70’s, worship superseded the jamming of a Contemporary Christian Rock band until someone on stage actually pulled their electrical plug, shutting down their power source, sending the rock band huffing off the stage. Amongst the worshipers, entire Youth Groups were being slain in the spirit, physical healings occurred as well as deliverances. Brothers and sisters in the Lord kept ministering to one another. There was laying on of hands in ministry, raising of hands in worship, and holding of hands in unity. Fellowship continued when returning back to one’s campsite where campfires were lit and little mini-worship services continued through the late night. I remember one year a Hill Billy, spoon playing, fiddle fiddling youth group beside me broke out in worship, while a messianic Jewish group toting tambourines amidst continuous clapping worshiped on the other side of my tent. What cultural diversity in the Body of Christ, and it was all O.K.!
I miss the days of corporate worship with believers of different labels with one purpose in mind: to lift up the name of Jesus. Worshiping in my own little Sunday morning church service can become so inclusive, and one can believe that they way one worships in that setting is the only “acceptable” way to worship. How wrong!
Where is the American Christian worship experience going today? My sons, and my friend’s son who attends a Christian college for sound recording have challenged the worship band mentality that currently fills our airwaves as all sounding the same. Where has the creativity, diversity, and uniqueness gone? Does the Christian recording industry have that much of a grip on what is being produced as “worship”? What does worship sound like in Africa, in the underground Church in China, in the small group homes in Russia, in prison cells in Muslim countries, in the back rooms of India, in Central and South America, in places where playing of instruments would give away one’s hiding place since Christian gatherings must be done in secret?
According to the book of Acts, “old men dream dreams”, and one of my fantasy dreams was to organize a worship session out in an open field with a stage in the shape of a pentagon, each side projecting worship in a different language (ie. English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, and Hindi), so that all tongues and races could worship together. That is in the natural. In the supernatural, worshiping in “the speaking with tongues” would take care of all of that! In a world wide, computer, internet driven world that is bringing the world together by language and tongue, could this supernatural dream ever become a reality?
I long for corporate worship on a large scale. I picture heaven being that way, so “thy kingdom come; thy will be done on EARTH as it is in HEAVEN.” Why not practice a little heaven on earth? Old men dream dreams….. This old man continually does that!