YOU

Sunday mornings are early for Tyler and me. No surprise. We arrive well before practice time, not only to finish up some sound and stage preparations, but most importantly to pray over the worship. About a month ago, during pre-practice prayer, I couldn’t get past the word YOU (usually followed up by something like “… have all authority over this service” or “…are so deserving of everything we have to give”). But I was caught on the word. You, You, You, You… You… You.
 
I’m going to have to stop this train of thought for a second to clear off the upcoming track.
 
I’m guessing you have a couple favorite worship songs. All worship is great, of course! But when “Build My Life” or “Way Maker” start up, your heart beats faster and your hands start moving!
 
Different songs have different impacts on different people. This is why my husband, Tyler, can listen to “The More I Seek You” time and again still excited by it every time while he has a harder time sitting through my 8th replay of “Shout of the King.” This is not only due to diverse music style tastes but also to the importance we each attach to certain words in worship, often determined by our personal experiences with that word. If you’ve been believing for miraculous healing, for example, you might feel the words in “Healer” more strongly than the person sitting next to you. Instead, they are praying for comfort after loss and feel the strength of the song “You Restore My Soul.”
 
Wouldn’t it be great if there was one word that took us all straight into worship?
 
Let’s start the train again.
 

There is a word, if we can all understand it. It shows up in just about every contemporary worship song now as worship continues to shift from a third-person perspective of God (God exists but is too almighty for a direct relationship) to a second-person view (God has a personal 1-to-1 relationship with each of us). The word is YOU:

 
 

You have no rival, You have no equal” “This is unfailing love, that You would take my place” “I believe You’re my healer” You restore my soul” You’re a good good Father”

 
 

Perhaps we could all feel every moment of worship if we all really understood the word YOU.

 
 

She’ll be coming around the mountain in a second; one more stop…

 
 

Think about the phrase, “I love you” for a moment. In any sentence, the exact meaning of the word “love” is established by the recipient of that expression (who or what you love). For example, “I love you” means something different to me when I’m talking to my parents versus when I’m talking to my spouse.

 
 

In the case of my parents, “I love YOU” encompasses a twenty-three year history of sacrifices, training, boundaries, and all kinds of proof of their unconditional love. I know well what their love looks and feels like. With Tyler, although the history behind YOU is shorter, the intensity is heavier; there’s a passionate side as well as a conscious “I-chose-you/you-chose-me” side. When I say it to him, it means something different. Even my “I love YOU” to our babies-to-be is different I haven’t seen them or held them yet, but I love them purely by their existence and budding potential. The concept of love is the same across the board, but the variety of love is specific to the context (the YOU).

 
 

So YOU, determining the whole connotation of love, is really the most powerful word in the sentence.

 
 

All aboard!

 
 

So what does YOU mean in the context of worship? Well, that depends on what you know about who God is. It’s probably difficult for you to say, “I love you” to a stranger, not because you don’t understand what love is, but because you don’t understand who they are. In the same way, it’s difficult to express worship if you don’t understand at least a small part of who God is.

 
 

As a new Christian, you can at least recognize God in the context of salvation and forgiveness. To you, YOU (as in GOD) embodies “Savior” and “Redeemer.” When you sing lyrics like, “I will worship You for who You are,” you can easily call to mind those characteristics of God, even without singing those specific words. As you begin to read the Bible, YOU starts to embrace other aspects of God’s character – maybe you start to learn more about His creativity, His mercy, and His power. Even farther down the line, your personal experiences with God multiply healing, freedom, and mental restoration – and worship just keeps getting deeper and deeper as YOU becomes more saturated with meaning! At this point, the worship team doesn’t need to sing “Healer” for you to hear “Healer” in the lyrics or “No Longer Slaves” for you to hear “Father” and “Deliverer.” You hear it in the YOU.

 
This understanding requires effort on your part, of course. God is always ready to reveal Himself as you seek Him (Matthew 7:7-8). The more you read God’s Word, pray, and listen, the more YOU will open up and embrace all He is. Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Creator, Savior, Redeemer, Provider, Unconditional Love, Passion, Potential everything that you can understand about who God is – it’s all in YOU. You, You, You, You… You… You.
 
-Catherine Lexvold