The final part of this Springtime trio is the word ‘O!’ This energetic and high-spirited word describes the practice of worship and amazement when we are awakened to the beauty and joy of God. It describes the overwhelming sense of awe and wonder at God’s goodness and majesty such as we may experience when we stand on Mam Tor. It picks up that sense of astonishment that God not only loves his world and sent his Son to redeem and reconcile it to himself, but that God loves us and sent his Son to redeem and reconcile us. It marvels in knowing the vibrant life of Jesus deep within me in all that we are by the Spirit.
The enthusiasm and energy of this ‘O!’ is what you might discover in the slums of Mumbai, or the favelas of Sao Paulo or the shanty towns of Nairobi. Here amongst the deeply and desperate poor you find a liveliness and vibrancy of worship rooted in, to use McLaren’s words, the ‘unconquerable, boundless, radiant, wonderful, infinite, exuberant, generous, glorious joy’ of who God truly is.
This is a discipline of the heart we are to lose ourselves completely into. We are to embrace this intense joyful sense of ‘O!’ for though we would love to excuse ourselves ‘O!’ refuses to allow this. Instead, it prompts us to think of David who worshipped with such an extravagance that his wife despised him. We are reminded of the pilgrims who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem with such vigour that it looked and felt more like a riot than a worship service. We remind ourselves of the heavenly host who when they saw the lamb who looked as if he had been slain seated on a throne, they threw their crowns down lost in wonder, love and praise.
The word ‘O!’ is a word that invites us to celebrate the love of God we know in Jesus with all our mind. We are to resist merely using the analytical side, instead ‘O!’ dares us to be as creative and imaginative as we possibly can.
The word ‘O!’ is a word that invites us to celebrate the love of God we know in Jesus with all the fire and passion our heart can generate. ‘O!’ dares us to be as zealous and energetic as we possibly can.
The word ‘O!’ is a word that invites us to celebrate the love of God we know in Jesus with all our soul. ‘O!’ dares us to be open to the wildness and recklessness of the Spirit as we possibly can.
‘O!’ invites us to dance – will you?