And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Luke 19:36-40 ESV
In my walk, I get to visit many churches and different denominations and different peoples who are gathering to worship Jesus. And some are more reverent and quiet in their worship, and some are more active and loud. I think that it is easy for people who have been raised in either tradition (reverent/quiet or active/loud) to understand most comfortably their own style. But when we see people who genuinely love the Lord and can’t help but rejoice and praise and worship Him, we can see the beauty in their differences and not just judge by our own expectations.
Even an outwardly reverent worship with congregation and choir in perfect timing and harmony and controlled volume that recently does not diverge from the written musical notes and lyrics — should on the inside be spiritually worshipping with full abandon of heart and self to glorify God. And even an outwardly active and loud worship with freedom to clap, shout, dance, cry out, and improvise with the music and tune — should on the inside be reverently focused on Christ alone as receiving all glory and honor.
The Pharisees here weren’t just wrong for wanting to quiet the worship of the disciples so that it was more orderly ands in line with their own traditions. They were wrong because they couldn’t see or understand the True Worship that was flowing out of the disciples in ways that stretched beyond their own traditions.
I wonder if Jesus bringing attention to the “stones” would immediately remind these religious men both of scriptures about stony hearts and of stones laid upon an altar in special places as a remembrance of mighty things the Lord has done. And how many times when we have grown weary and cold and stony in our lives, has the Lord shown up and done wonderful things so that we could lay aside those stones as a marker along our path of something mighty and wonderful the Lord has done in us and through us?
We have much to rejoice this morning, friends. And whether we are up before the rest of the house giving God the first of our day and rejoicing quietly and reverently — or alone in our vehicle praising the Lord loudly and fervently — lets praise Him in spirit and in truth in the innermost places knowing that He is truly worthy of more honor and praise than even the best ashes that we could bring — and that lasting down our stones to walk with Him in fullness of life is the worship He desires.