Pastor John Martens
Opening YouTube clip:
Test Your Awareness
Handout (PDF form):
Song from the service:
Come Let Us Worship And Bow Down – Doherty
Dave Doherty was feeling low and distant from Him one day in 1980 on the New Jersey turnpike. His spiritual high of working during the previous decade in a growing ministry in a church, and with three musical compatriots, had departed, and he was stuck making ends meet. Driving a delivery truck, he clung to his tenuous faith by listening to a radio minister named Clinton White that day. Something White said must have struck a nerve in Doherty, and the next thing he knew he was weeping on the side of the road, a cathartic experience he admits. Doherty says that day he learned to be in the moment with God, to trust Him as protector and guide. A few days later, he composed – or, more accurately, rediscovered — the song “Come, Let Us Worship and Bow Down”, a reiteration of two verses of the 95th Psalm (verses 6-7). What was it Clinton White had said over the radio that touched Doherty? Perhaps it was something that Psalm 95:6-7 summed up for him, something that gave him the key to unlocking the door to the spiritual prison he’d been in.
Had it been like prison, or was it in fact more like exile for Doherty? The anonymous individual, most likely a Levitical priest who composed Psalm 95, knew what exile was like. He and others like him had returned to the Promised Land sometime in the 5th Century before Christ (400-500 B.C.), after several generations of banishment in Persia. It would be an understatement to say that the Jews felt something pretty special as they adored freely the true God after such a long hiatus, reconnecting their deep beliefs with open worship. These Jews must have gone through lots of negative emotions before the homecoming high, perhaps similar to what was impacting the guy on a New Jersey freeway some 2,500 years later. Disappointment, disillusionment, and distance…what believer hasn’t felt those emotions at times? Maybe Clinton White had too, and had returned. There’s reassurance, knowing that I’m not permanently losing my faith, when I walk in the wrong direction temporarily. Kneel and acknowledge that He’s the solution for my anxieties – that’s what Dave Doherty discovered. His Psalm 95 song tells me he had a remarkable moment with Him, in a most holy, special place, even if it was a freeway. Maybe it’s time to revisit the Temple.
The source for Dave Doherty’s song story is the book “Celebrate Jesus: The Stories behind Your Favorite Praise and Worship Songs”, by Phil Christensen and Shari MacDonald, Kregel Publications, 2003.