Already Here

One Sunday morning at Mars Hill we decided, as a worship team, to relinquish two common phrases from our collective vocabulary.


One Sunday morning at Mars Hill we decided, as a worship team, to relinquish two common phrases from our collective vocabulary. We projected them onto the screen like a retired jersey being hoisted up into the rafters, and fondly bid these over-the-hill words farewell. It was a beautiful day.

Retired phrase 1: “And God showed up.”

Retired phrase 2: “God, we invite You here today.”

I completely understand the well-intentioned experiences that gave birth to these words, but every time we insert “and then God showed up” into our story or “God, we invite You here” into our prayer, we communicate something really confusing about the Almighty. Where do we think He is? If we claim that He “showed up” at a certain point of our story, are we saying that He was absent until then? If we beg Him to “fill this place today,” or “be with us as we drive,” are we saying that He would be absent from our church or car otherwise? Where in the world do we think God is?

The scriptures are very clear about God’s location. The Psalmist says, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there” (Psalm 139). The Apostle Paul taught that “God is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17). And Jesus himself declared, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28). This theme continues throughout the scriptures and history of the church. Where is God? He is here. Always. Everywhere.

It is not the role of worship leaders to invite God to church. There is no magic formula to sing and pray in the exact way that convinces The Creator to come in from the parking lot and join our service. Even the most sincere worship doesn’t move God’s location–it can’t!–He’s already wherever we’re trying to move Him to. But the genius of the worship experience, as with many spiritual practices, is that it opens our eyes to what is already there. True worship connects us to reality. (Check out 2 Kings 6:15-17 for one of the best examples of worship leading in the bible.)

So, may we become the kinds of people who find God and His fingerprints everywhere. And may we use each word, song, conversation, and seemingly mundane moment to help wipe the religious sleep from our collective eyes and catch a glimpse of where God is. Already Here.

“Already Here”

Aaron Niequist

we don’t have to say:

“come and fill this place.”

we don’t have to pray:

“will You show Your face?”

we don’t have to move

into a Holy space.

we don’t have to say:

“come into this place.”

because You’re already here, You’re already here, You’re already here.

open up our eyes

the Truth is all around

Your fingerprinted skies

Your holy muddy ground

we want to walk beside

Your ever-present care

we cannot be alone

You’re always everywhere

because You’re already here, You’re already here, You’re already here.

ever-present love

ever-reaching grace

ever-patient hope

See Also

reflecting in each face

help us find the good

in our every day

though ugliness abounds

You haven’t gone away

because You’re already here, You’re already here, You’re already here.

holy

glory

holy, almighty

You are already here

©2008 AARONieq Music

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Are these worship tag-lines used often in your church? How do you feel about them?

Are there any worship phrases that you feel are in desperate need of retiring?

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