Access All Areas
Graham Kendrick suggest that we can have 'Access All Areas' when it comes to worship if we start to understand the doctrine of the Trinity
It's quite a nice moment when somebody gives you one of those lanyard passes at an event and you look at it and it says 'Access All Areas’. That means really you are in that exclusive club of a few people who can go anywhere they like.
In a very small way it's a little bit of an illustration of how it is that we have access to God to worship. I think that in many churches we are very relaxed about what we do in church, and sometimes I think we can lose the wonder and the awe of the fact that we are actually able to worship God at all, that we are welcomed into His presence. I want to share some thoughts as a worship leader, to do with the doctrine of the Trinity.
First of all I have had to understand that my only access to bring worship, to be able to come before God and for my worship to be accepted is through Christ. Now when I'm setting out to lead worship it's important for me to stand there and recognize that this has not only been a costly thing for Christ but also that he has ascended to the right hand of the Father as a high priest and he is there welcoming us into God's presence. I try and get this picture into my head when I'm planning worship and sometimes when I'm gathering the band together and we're praying, about to worship I remind myself that Jesus is among us and he's been made like us. And then I go further than that and try and remember the verse about him declaring the Father's name. Now that means everything revealed about the Father potentially can be shared, can be revealed. This is Jesus' mission and heart is to reveal God to us.
I will often pray and ask the question 'Jesus what is it that you want to reveal to us about the Father?’ However, there's still more to it because Hebrews 2:12 says 'In the midst of the congregation I will sing your praises'. So Jesus actually leads our praise. This is such a powerful picture for me because sometimes we can imagine as worship leaders that it's all up to us but actually we're seeking to follow The Worship Leader, the only one qualified to take us into God's presence. This puts us in a place of humility, a place of dependency, a place of asking, seeking, waiting and listening so that by the Spirit we can hopefully discern some direction. But perhaps more than anything else to recognize what an amazing thing it is to be able to come before God, be accepted by Him through Christ and to bring Him thanks and praise.
Now for a worship leader, a really simple and straightforward way of grasping some of this understanding (without having to open big theology books) is to just look at a hymn. There's a hymn 'Before The Throne Of God Above’ which has been given a new tune in recent years and it begins:
'Before the throne of God above I have a strong, a perfect plea,
A great high priest whose name is Love who ever lives and pleads for me.
Because the sinless Saviour died, my sinful soul is counted free,
For God, the Just, is satisfied to look on him and pardon me'.
That last line is absolute dynamite. I am worthy to come into God's presence, because of all that Christ has done and the Father looks at Christ, and because of Christ, because of what he did on the cross, then I'm accepted in him. Access all areas.
I think one of the most awesome and wonderful truths in this whole area is summed up in this quotation from James Torrance when he says this 'Worship is the gift of participating through the Spirit in the incarnate Son's communion with the Father’. All of a sudden when you think that way, there's a big shift between 'Here am I worshiping God’ to 'Here am I being drawn into this amazing relationship within the Godhead between Father and Son, into this mystery, and that God should love us so much that he would want to draw us in to share something of the wonder of that communion.’
So when I approach worship in this way it shifts away from just me and God, and it shifts toward me being caught up in a much vaster and infinite relationship, and that somehow I can share in that and just that itself makes me want to worship more - that God should lavish so much love upon us.