A number of years ago, I attended a Worship Arts Conference at Willow Creek Church in Barrington, Illinois. In one of the workshops on worship leading we talked about how we as worship leaders do not just sing. We lead others to worship. And to lead others, we must be worshipers ourselves.
One of the ways to prepare ourselves to lead worship is to take the words of a song and write our own paraphrase to the song. Our worship pastor, Brian Mulder, encouraged us to try this and the song “Before the Throne” a song rich with meaning became even more meaningful as I wrote out the song in my own words. Doing this over the years has often helped me prepare my own heart to connect with the message as I prepare to “lead” worship.
And as a worshipper, leader or not, taking the words of a meaningful song that you sing on Sunday morning and creating your own paraphrase during the following week can be a powerful experience. And so, I share my experience with you from the spring of 2004.
Before the Throne of God Above
written by Charitie Lees Bancroft, 1863
my paraphrase in italics
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
Before the throne of God
I have my very own High Priest
And because of his great love
He lives forever . . .
Pleading my case
and standing up for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
My name is engraved right on His Hand
When He looks there he remembers
How does He have room to write
all of our names there?
Does He write them in layers
Maybe He has an extra large hand?
Do His eyes look
through all the layers
and find my name there.
My name is also written on His heart
And while He is present before God’s throne,
No one can say to me “get out of here,
you don’t belong.”
(to be continued)