By Melanie Cave
Are you lying down comfortably? Then Let's begin!
I like to explain "Soaking" worship by reflecting on how pickles are made. Cucumbers become pickles by spending time soaking in vinegar and spices, so long that they are totally transformed in taste, texture and colour. The vinegar eve has antiseptic and preserving properties, meaning the pickles last longer and don't go moldy! When we spend time soaking in God's love and presence, we begin to take on His flavour, His love, and His character. Sin is kept away by the power of his presence, and we are strengthened. We need to be in God's presence because we are created for Him. We are designed to be calibrated to his presence, body, soul, spirit, mind.
The other day I got out a new sponge out of the packet to do the washing up. It was hard and as I tried to wash up it didn’t bend into the corners of the pot. It didn’t mould to my hand. It didn’t clean very well, however as soon as I dipped it into the washing up bowl, and gave it a squeeze it’s whole texture changed. And it became flexible and useful for cleaning, not hard and inflexible.
We are like sponges- we actually function best when we are saturated through with God’s presence. We need to have times of being fully surrounded by God’s presence, to recalibrate our body, mind and emotions to the atmosphere of heaven.
Like the example of cucumbers in the pickle jar, we need to make sure that we are taking on the flavour of God, not the world around us. Its easy for us spend more time soaking ourselves in television or music, than we do in God’s presence and God’s Word. It’s unsurprising that we sometimes struggle to get our attitudes and mindsets aligned with the Holy Spirit. We become like a dry inflexible sponge in God’s hands. We are all this way, and thankfully its very easily redeemed- we simply need to repent and put our sponge into water- we need to soak in God's loving presence.
Soaking worship simply means being still, lying down, and listening, tuning in, becoming aware of God's presence around you; choosing to receive from God, listen, and soak up God's presence. This might be in the context of corporate worship, just being still and connecting with God. Or it might be at home in your bed or in your lounge, listening to some worship music and choosing to notice God's presence all around you.
Soaking is a discipline of being tuned in to God, and being receptive and open to what Jesus is doing. In our fast paced world full of acheivement and activities, we can get used to doing for God. It is an important habit to learn to slow down, to stop, to wait on God and to receive from Him.
Psalm 42:1-2 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
When I introduced soaking in OH2 this week, my 2 year old led the way and got out some cushions. She arranged the cushions in a path and then made Daddy lie down. She made sure he had a few cushions so he'd be comfortable, and then she lay down next to him- and worshipped. She is quick to say "Thank you Jesus" And "I love you Jesus". And for a child who finds it hard to keep up with the words of songs, soaking is a natural way for her to enjoy Jesus. In these simple says children can lead us into the presence of God, to teach us how to receive, to be happy to lie down on the floor in the middle of a church gathering, to delight to be be with our heavenly Daddy.