Some blind men encountered an elephant roaming through their village. They gathered around the beast of burden in an effort to take a closer Ã¢â‚¬Å“lookÃ¢â‚¬Â. When asked to describe what they Ã¢â‚¬Å“sawÃ¢â‚¬Â, each offered up a very different answer.
The blind man in front, who had a hold of the trunk, thought the elephant was something like a Ã¢â‚¬Å“a large boa constrictorÃ¢â‚¬Â. The 2nd man found the ear and thought the elephant was more like the Ã¢â‚¬Å“fronds of a coconut palmÃ¢â‚¬Â. The 3rd, who was kneeling by the side of the elephant, grabbed its massive leg and compared it to the Ã¢â‚¬Å“base of a mighty oak treeÃ¢â‚¬Â. The 4th man standing beside it imagined it as a Ã¢â‚¬Å“great wall.Ã¢â‚¬Â And of course, the last blind man stationed near the Ã¢â‚¬Å“businessÃ¢â‚¬Â end of the animal grabbed the tail and remarked that an elephant was surely like Ã¢â‚¬Å“a ropeÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Though none had the whole view, they all had a correct view. They all described their encounter with the largest land mammal on earth through the filter of their own perspective, and as such they would always remember this elephant in a very personal way.
I see this dynamic when we come together for corporate worship. We have all encountered the living God, but because we are limited by our humanity to only seeing Ã¢â‚¬Å“through a mirror dimly,Ã¢â‚¬Â we rely heavily on our own perspective. Those experiences are going to be a bit different from anyone elseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and very personal and very precious.
Some kneel to grasp the leg. Some lift their hands to catch the ear. Others stand, arms open as if they are measuring the expanse of the great wall. Some are happy just to smile and Ã¢â‚¬Å“hold handsÃ¢â‚¬Â with the tail. The beauty of the body of Christ is that all of these expressions are worship, all are valid, and all are born out of our very personal encounters with God, through His Word, His Spirit, His creation, and His church.
We are all free to worship, wholeheartedly, in whatever way best fits our own relationship to our Lord. Whether it be alone in our prayer closet or in a corporate worship service or driving home in the car from work in rush hour traffic, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s give to God what He deserves. Prayer. Praise. Passion. Respond to Him according to his goodness and his Ã¢â‚¬Å“GodnessÃ¢â‚¬Â. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what He created us to do!!
And remember that by sharing our experiences and encounters with God with each other, we will gain a vision and an understanding of Him that is far clearer than any we might have on our own. It was only as the blind men shared their stories of the encounter with the elephant that each of them were able to fully Ã¢â‚¬Å“seeÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Bobby Girard; Worship Arts Pastor