I was sitting in my usual spot on the front pew last Sunday morning during worship when something happened that changed my whole perspective--a baby cried. The fussy wails went on for a little while during which, I'm sure, his mother did her best to calm the child. Now, to some that may be a distraction, but to me it meant something different. To me, it was a powerful reminder of several important things about our worship.
1. I WAS REMINDED OF THE IMPORTANCE OF WORSHIPING PROPERLY.
That cry let me know that there are future generations who will be worshiping here, and we need to make sure that we rear them in an atmosphere of worship that consists of God-approved actions, coupled with a proper attitude. Those who worship God "must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). Too many today are veering off the scripturally prescribed ways of worship and insisting on their own wants and wishes. For the sake of our souls and our sons and daughters, may we never do so! Out of the mouth of a crying babe, I was reminded that God desires that we worship Him appropriately, not vainly (cf. Matt. 15:1-9).
2. I WAS REMINDED OF THE IMPORTANCE OF POURING OUT OUR EMOTIONS IN WORSHIP.
Believe me, that little fellow was crying out to be heard! Worship is giving our all. It is crying out to God to be heard, if you will. "Praise the LORD! I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation" (Psa. 111:1). When we sing, we are to sing with the heart and to be heard (Eph. 5:19). This concept also applies to the other avenues of worship--it must always be from the heart. Worship is not a silent, passive, emotionless endeavor (although to look at some Christians, you might get that idea). Out of the mouth of a crying babe, I was reminded that I always need to express myself in worship. Hebrews 13:15 exhorts - "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name."
3. I WAS REMINDED THAT THE CHURCH IS A FAMILY (cf. Eph. 3:14,15).
Those baptized into Christ are a part of the family of God. Babies are how families grow and continue. Converting people to becoming "babes" in Christ and then helping them to mature in Christ is how we grow the church (Matt. 18:3; I Pet. 2:2; II Pet. 3:18). And when we gather together for worship, it is important that we do so as a church family. How sad it is that some want to herd up the children and get them out during worship when the whole concept of church worship is being together as a family! It should be observed from I Corinthians 14:23 that even though they had messed up some aspects of worship, of which Paul was correcting them in the epistle, the Christians at Corinth had the family concept of worship correct--the whole church came together in one place. Out of the mouth of a crying babe, I was reminded that we are a family, and the family that prays together, stays together.
Friends, a crying baby in worship doesn't bother me a bit. I know the child is there because the parents are committed to the Lord and want to worship and train their children up properly from the very beginning. I'd much rather hear a baby cry in the assembly than see (or hear) an adult doze off from lack of interest or a failure to prepare himself for worship (i.e., by getting a good night's rest)!