Pastor Phil Cooley
I am thankful to a dear sister in Christ who was willing to be vulnerable with me and express her discomfort and confusion with my message this past Sunday. For those that were not there I preached the good news of God’s abundant grace recorded in James 4:6 through the lyrics of the song Worth It by Christian Hip Hop artist Lecrae. If you haven’t heard the message and song, I encourage you to listen to both.
In selecting the non-hymn to close out our Hymn series, my message was twofold. As it relates to the song, the message was one of encouragement, that no matter what the “what ifs” are that we fear will remove us from the love of God, God’s grace covers them. My broader message was that the measure of God honoring our capital “W” Worship (lower case worship can be limited to the sphere of musical worship) is how we make room for all people to draw near to God. We worship God most fully when our heart desires what His heart desires and His heart desires that all who seek to draw near to Him can do so. I argued that to do that we must, at times, be willing to make space for things that make us uncomfortable so that others are able to draw near to God.
My sister in Christ struggled with the idea that helping people draw near to God may include hearing Christian Hip Hop in the sanctuary on a Sunday morning. I said above that I was thankful that she expressed her concern with me. My thanksgiving comes not because we quickly resolved the issue and she readily and enthusiastically jumped on board. Rather I am thankful because of her willingness to enter into discussion, and the conversation that spilled forth was honoring to God. We do not glorify God simply by agreeing on everything and achieving the outcomes that we hope will please Him. We also glorify Him as we love, care for, and respect one another as members of the family of Christ, particularly when we don’t see eye to eye.
I expect that my sister is not the only one who struggled with Sunday’s message. If you have concerns, I would ask that you let me know. Taking that step glorifies God (He loves reconciliation!) and I do believe that whatever the outcome, we will be blessed by the process.