Tap-tap, tap-tap-tap, tap-tap-tap-tap: annoying sounds? Maybe, but it could mean much more.
Captain Eugene ‘Red’ McDaniel tapped on the walls of his cell in the Vietnamese Prisoner of War camp commonly known as the Hanoi Hilton. The taping was a secret code prisoners used to communicate with each other. The number one rule at the Hilton was: “No communication with other prisoners at anytime.” Anyone caught in the attempt would be tortured or executed.
Isolation was the prime weapon of the communist captors. As the hours slowly turned into days and weeks, Captain McDaniel came to fear the loneliness and the silence far more than any threats of physical harm. The highlight of each day was being taken to the washroom where he occasionally managed to whisper briefly with two other Americans brought in at the same time. They told him about the camp code, a series of taps (or other signals) to spell out letters. McDaniel in his book, Scars and Stripes came to recognize the code as his lifeline and only link with sanity.
If a new prisoner couldn’t learn the code and communicate with fellow prisoners within thirty days of arrival, he would gradually begin to draw inward and deteriorate. Captain McDaniel saw nearly fifty of America’s best trained enter isolation never to be heard from again. As the days dragged on, a prisoner would slowly lose any will to live. “Little by little,” McDaniel wrote, “he would deteriorate as that strange predator… isolation, would suck the very life out of him.”
Tap-tap, tap-tap-tap, tap-tap-tap-tap: annoying sounds or vital communication?
What do secret codes and POW’s have to do with worship? One word: communication. Worship represents one of our best opportunities to communicate with God. Without it, the spiritual part of our being will begin to draw inward, deteriorate and die. More than just a hymn, a sermon and a prayer, worship is the camp code that becomes our lifeline and can at times be our only link with sanity.
The final 16 chapters of Exodus describe in detail the sanctuary that is to be built by the Israelites to worship God. Emphasis is placed on how the sanctuary tent is to be built, how the priests dress and even what items are placed inside. It’s more like reading an architect’s rendering but you begin to understand why God considers the church and worship to be a crucial aspect of our faith.
Worship is important communication with God and should be uplifting and emotional. Psalm 95 is a great example.
Come let us sing to the Lord! Let us give a joyous shout to the rock or our salvation!
Let us come before Him with thanksgiving. Let us sing Him psalms of praise.
For the Lord is a great God, the great King above all gods.
He owns the depths of the earth, and even the mightiest mountains are His.
The sea belongs to Him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too.
Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker.
For He is our God. We are the people He watches over, the sheep under His care.
Oh, that you would listen to His Voice today! (Psalm 95:1-7)
- Sing and Shout – Worship is active. Don’t just sit there; join in.
- Give Thanks and Praise – Worship is our way of saying, “Thank you, God!”
- God is Great – Worship is recognizing the awesome nature of God.
- God Made It All –– Worship is remembering creation and our unique role.
- Let us Bow Down – Worship is the humility of accepting God’s authority.
- For He is our God – Worship is hearing the promise that God tenderly shepherds us.
- Listen to His Voice – Worship is the bold call to follow God’s voice wherever it leads.
Worship — Tap-tap, tap-tap-tap, tap-tap-tap-tap: annoying sounds or vital communication?
Prisoners needed communication at the Hanoi Hilton or they would deteriorate and die: Without worship, the spiritual part of our being will begin to draw inward, deteriorate and die. Worship is the camp code that becomes our lifeline and can at times be our only link with sanity.
We don’t always feel that way. I hear: “I don’t get anything out of worship.” Followed by a complaint about the pastor or the music. People say they feel like bystanders. But worship should be a possible turning point in your life not something to endure. How can you improve your worship experience?
One answer is to look for ways to get involved. Don’t be passive. Become an active worshipper.
- Bring your Bible and read the Scripture and pray about what the passage means to you.
- Sing, a good voice doesn’t matter. It’s the act of saying the words out loud.
- Remember during prayer that you are praying too, not just listening.
- Pray for the speaker. Ask: What is God saying to me? How should I respond?
- Get involved based on your interests: sing in the choir, join a small group, become a part a ministry. The more you participate, the more meaningful your worship.
Tap-tap, tap-tap-tap: Worship — annoying sounds or vital communication? Worship is a human response to a divine revelation. Tap-tap: through the quietness of prayer. Tap-tap-tap: through singing a hymn. Tap-tap-tap-tap: through the prophetic words of a sermon. Worship is the camp code for vital communication with God. Without it there is only spiritual isolation and death.