Artistry & Creativity, Inspirational Quotes

Refine, Refine, Refine… Repeat

“I believe good art is the willingness to refine… refine… refine… refine… refine… refine… refine… refine… refine… refine… refine…

until your creation demands the attention of others.”

~ Jay Argaet

How Then Shall We Live?

Unspoken Creeds

Have you ever been in a Gathering and wanted more than anything to just go home? The people around you are so into this. You wonder if the guy raising his hands and crying beside you is actually serious right now. And it’s almost unbearable to stay because a girl a few rows back has decided to sing the harmony up an octave and then some, but she’s still managing to sing flat. Needless to say, the Spirit of God is not falling afresh on you and you don’t see the point of staying. (I’m hoping you’re agreeing with all of this, unless I’m actually the only super-cynical person in chapel services.)

Then to add to your misery, the worship leader is telling you to stand with everyone, to say a Bible passage together, to go Vespers style and read the bolded print off the screen. This is torture. You don’t want to be a part of this body right now. You just want to go finish your homework.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone through this process- I had this exact train of thought last Sunday night. I feel like a hypocrite for staying and participating in the service. I’m not really doing much besides mumbling and judging other people. But after reading A More Profound Alleluia‘s chapter on creeds and prayers, I don’t really think that it’s a bad thing to participate in a service you don’t feel. So much of our faith today is condensed into charismatic emotion in the Presence of God. I’m not saying this is a bad thing- but be honest, do you always feel overcome with emotion when you praise God? Are we supposed to stop praising God when we don’t feel like it anymore, or when we don’t feel his Presence?

At JBU (as far as I know) we don’t normally use any creeds, but we do declare the same things about God every week. He is holy, and powerful, and worthy of our praise. We are sinners that need the grace and pardon of Jesus’ sacrifice. We must go out of our campus to minister to the world. These were all themes in the Gathering on Sunday, and I declared them all with the rest of the campus even if I didn’t feel like it. It brought unity to me and the people beside me. That’s kind of awesome. The girl beside me overwhelmed by God’s presence, and the guy in the back row doing homework in between songs, are declaring the same thing.

Next time you’re forced to a chapel for no reason besides getting your credits in, pause the cynicism and take a moment to listen to the unified declaration around you. Even if it’s not on pitch, it’s still beautiful if you stop and think about it.

~ Rebekah