I’ve been processing with the Lord my expectations of what freedom looks like in a congregation, an entire congregation free of fear and shame. I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of the picture of freedom I had painted in my mind is desperately lacking, at least fundamentally.
Freedom is often thought of as this explosive expression, a kind of spontaneous combustion. I think of a congregation fully free and I imagine radical worship, demonstrative praise, services rich in emotion and bravado. I suppose I find that really attractive because I belong to a culture of hype seekers. Don’t get me wrong, I believe freedom looks like something. It surely doesn’t look like nothing, but I am beginning to consider that freedom looks like the woman of faith gently laying her hand on the broken and seeing them healed. Or that it looks like tears streaming down the face of the man of God experiencing the love of Jesus so deeply in prayer with a brother, he can’t even utter a sound as he weeps.
As a worship leader, there have been seasons in my life I have struggled to understand what it is to behave free, in order that I might encourage freedom in others. It occurred to me today that freedom isn’t necessarily loud, in your face, shouting “let me show you how free I am!” And I’m so relieved because I was never very good at that.
Jesus was the freest man to walk the earth. ALL the fullness of God dwelt in Him. Understanding that, how could I set my expectation on a demonstrative display of a manifestation only, and not upon the calm invitation he utters to Lazurus when he says, “come forth,” or when he says to the Canaanite woman, “your faith has made you whole,” or when he promised the man who hung beside him on the cross, “today you will be with me in paradise.” Or better yet, when he came toward his disciples unannounced, walking across the surface of the water toward them, inviting Peter to join him. No hype. No bravado. Just authority released.
I think sometimes we as Christ followers invite noise into our gatherings because we are afraid to speak only, to lay our hands on, to cast out, to bind and to loose, to let the word produce life. We are afraid because these acts require our cooperation. These acts require a step of faith & we fear mustard seed faith will be inadequate. It is a fear that would never utter the words and yet agrees, “I’d rather shout than come face to face with my sister in need of healing, in need of prayer.”
I’m still processing all of this but I believe the Lord is saying, come up higher. He is giving me a new perspective. He is redefining what a “win” looks like when I step off of the stage after leading worship. He is inviting me to expect more of our services and to value the seemingly uneventful encounters happening across the room more than I ever have before.
I believe a wave is coming, sweeping across the Body of Christ, the likes of which the global Church has not known. Some things released will be loud, some things will be subtle. I don’t want to miss seeing what the Lord is doing because I would not value the subtle expressions of Heaven’s outpouring as highly as I value the earth shaking ones. More than something that is seen, I am beginning to believe that freedom is something that is known intimately, in the heart of man. It is the very nature of the Lion of Judah being released in us–sometimes roaring, sometimes resting in his strength, but always seated in authority. I believe freedom looks like that.