I stopped on one station as the congregation was singing a favorite song of mine, “How great is our God”.
♬♪How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God♪♬
I listened and sang. Then I watched more closely and saw a lack of expression on every face, a lack of realizing just what we were singing. I saw myself suddenly in Sunday worship. And it grieved me.
A few nights before this hotel experience I watched a film named EE-TAOW. It’s a story from New Tribes Mission about the Mouk tribe of Papua New Guinea and how they respond to hearing the Gospel message. As I recall from the movie, once the completion of the gospel story was fully explained, which occurred over several months, the people began to shout EE-TAOW, EE-TAOW, EE-TAOW. This means, “IT IS TRUE”, “IT IS TRUE”! The film indicates that the Mouk people celebrated this good news, this news of a Saviour for three hours! Three hours of dancing, crying, screaming, laughing… “It is true”, it is true”!
My mind suddenly contrasted these two viewings – a sedate singing of How Great is Our God vs. the out-of-control celebration of a tribe of new believers in New Guinea. Does this seem odd to you? Does the dancing, crying and laughing of “it is true” seem odd and inappropriate? Or does it seem that perhaps we’re missing something? Maybe we’re missing the meaning of the words we sing in worship. Maybe we’ve sung them for so long that they’ve lost their meaning. But have they? Are we living these words of truth?
Sing and cry out with me in total, unbridled joy: How Great is our God! It is True!