EXPRESSIONS AN HONEST EXPRESSION By Aaron Shust “100% Faux Leather!” was what the chair advertisement claimed. If you didn’t take French en lycee, “faux” actually means false or fake. Example: a faux-hawk is a noncommittal mohawk. “I actually want a pointy frock of hair on top of my head, but I’m not ready to shave the sides just yet. Give me a faux-hawk, please.” The leather chair advertisement should have just said, “This chair isn’t remotely leather!” But “100% Faux” has become an acceptable oxymoron. As a worship leader on stage, I feel the freedom to demonstrate my worship of God physically because it’s part of my responsibility to lead people to the Throne. I may do that by raising my hands...or if I’m getting really pumped, I may break out into a quick little bounce that someone would miss if they blinked. That’s about as crazy as I get. When I first began to lead worship about 11 years ago, my church’s music department took a trip to Willow Creek Church in Chicago for their Arts conference. I remember standing in the aisle, singing at the top of my lungs, hands raised, flooded with the realization that God loved a wretch like me. But after a few years as a worship leader, I began to sense the congregation’s eyes burning into the back of my head on a Sunday that I wasn’t leading. It was as if they were asking, “How is Aaron worshiping?” Honestly, I resented feeling like I was being watched. I wanted to worship in freedom. (Or was it anonymity?) I wanted people to look to Jesus, not to me. I began to physically demonstrate my worship less and less. I worshiped within my comfort zone, which means I rarely clapped, but I would tap the chair in front of me. I wouldn’t raise my hands, but I would sway so that anyone watching would know that I was engaged. I knew something was wrong; disingenuous, but until I figured out what the root issue was, I wasn’t going to just throw my hands back up, because that would be equally fake. I was in a conundrum. Then just recently, a very wise friend of mine, Bob McLeod, said something I hope I never forget: “Our public worship is real if it is the same as our closet worship.” How DO we worship when no one is looking? When we’re home alone? When we’re in nature or driving by ourselves? When we’re communing with God and we are reminded of His love for us even though we don’t deserve it? When we’re “in our closet”, so to speak... Do we shed tears when we realize the magnitude of that Love? We will when we’re literally face to face with Him. Tears must exist in order for Him to wipe them away! Do we fall facedown before Him? We will. Do we dance, raise our hands and sing for joy? Again, I believe we will on the day we meet Him. Even we introverts will. Can we be introverted in our closets but extroverted in public? Or is that faux worship? Can we be extroverted in our closets but introverted in public? Or is that faux worship? I’m not saying one kind of expression is more right or wrong than the other. I’m simply suggesting that if you’re wondering whether your public expression of worship is genuine, see if it matches how you worship when you’re in your closet. 34 CCM Worship