First Person: Worshiping at all levels
By Paul Meldrum, Photo by Lainee Pegelow | Jan 11, 2023
Editor’s note: Paul Meldrum, regional director of The 6:4 Fellowship and pastor of shepherding at Flagstaff Bible Church, will lead a Prayer Summit for Arizona Southern Baptists in Phoenix Jan. 23. Learn more and RSVP here.
As a former airline pilot based in Phoenix, I have flown over the Grand Canyon many times at high altitude, 30,000 feet or higher.
Being that high up, you can see the great expanse and grandeur of the Canyon. The depth and large distinctives of that magnificent wonder can be experienced, even from 6 miles up.
As I considered my experience with the Grand Canyon, I found a strong personal correlation to my worship of our great God and King. At the highest, most encompassing view, I worship God for His awesome greatness, His unlimitable expanse, His all-knowing ability and His sovereign character. This worship is right and true, and this is where many folks spend the majority of their time worshiping God … and that’s good.
One day as I was flying from Columbus, Ohio, to Los Angeles, California, I asked the air traffic controller if we could descend and give our passengers a tour of the Grand Canyon. ATC allowed us to descend to a mere 7,000-8,000 feet above the rim of the Canyon. Further, they cleared our aircraft to make left and right turns so that our 150 or so people on board had a great view of the magnificent scene below. At that lower altitude, the colors, contours and detail began to explode. All were thrilled to view the amazing detail of the Canyon.
Worshiping God with a closer view inspires our worship to be more detailed. We find ourselves worshiping God not only in a broad, general way, but now identifying His character as we learn of Him from the Bible. I love to worship Him as my Father, my Shepherd, my Savior and my Friend, and so much more.
Living in Flagstaff, just a 90-minute drive from the Grand Canyon, has allowed my wife and me to hike the south rim of the Canyon many times. While the expanse of this wonder is no longer in view at rim level, the detail, complexity, character and beauty is revealed.
At “rim level” worship, I drill down more deeply into how God is my perfect Father, Who will never leave me nor forsake me. He alone knows exactly what I need and administers it to me perfectly. He directs my path, corrects my missteps, forgives my sin, protects me from the evil one and puts a calling on my life. At rim level, I worship God not simply for the various character traits He possesses, but more so, for the intricate detail of each of His traits that make up His perfect Person.
Finally, it is in hiking to the bottom of the Canyon that you see the greatest detail and have a most ominous sense, being surrounded by the great walls of the Canyon some 4,000-5,000 feet tall. It is the depth and nearness to the Canyon that allows you to get to know it more intimately.
This level of worship submerges me/us into the deep waters of growing intimacy with God. It is the fact that God is near and all around that causes our knowledge of, experience with and longing for our Triune God to explode. Surrounded by God, we learn to know and worship Him with the greatest of detail. As we know Him more deeply, we experience His holiness more regularly, confess more quickly, worship more fully and believe with greater faith.
God calls us to worship Him at all levels so that we will know Him more intimately and depend on Him more fully. Would you join me in this journey? I pray you will.