Worship, God and Tom Bombadil

At church we have been working our way through the Five Vineyard Values in an effort to understand who we are. Yesterday the PRV family was blessed by Reggie and Flo Coleman (Vineyard Boise, Healthy Families Boise, and Angel Food Ministries) who shared with us about the value of experiencing God in and through worship.

It was a powerful service that emphasized going beyond simply singing words on a screen and really connecting with God one-on-one. As Emily mentioned at the beginning of the service (she shared her heart for a few minutes before Reggie spoke), music is a powerful connector between our logical left brain and our creative-expressive right brain. Worship is a way for us to experience God using all our heart, soul, spirit and body (i.e. raising our hands, dancing, sitting in silence, etc)

Another aspect of worship was highlighted to me this morning on the way to work as I listened to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring”.

Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin had just been captured by a barrow-wight (an evil spirit) and were in endangered of being entrapped forever inside a tomb of earth and stone. Sam, Merry and Pippin were placed under a deep spell and laid on a stone table with a long sword placed over the neck. Frodo, who had been knocked out, awakes to this sight and tries to protect his friends by chopping down an animated arm that was getting ready to kill them.

Only this action proofs fruitless as it plunges the cave passage into darkness…

Losing courage, Frodo lays his head on Merry’s cold face…only to remember the rhyme given to him by Tom Bombadil:

“In a small desperate voice he began: Ho! Tom Bombadil! and with that name his voice seemed to grow strong: it had a full and lively sound, and the dark chamber echoed as if to drum and trumpet.

‘Ho! Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadillo!
By water, wood and hill, by the reed and willow,
By fire, sun and moon, harken now and hear us!
Come, Tom Bombadil, for our need is near us!'”

When Frodo first begun to sing the rhyme of Tom Bombadil his voice was hardly a whisper, yet as he begin his voice grew stronger and his courage returned. So it is with us.

There are times when we are down and depressed – when the last thing we want to do is sing or pray… Yet, it is through our act of lifting our voices up God in prayer – for Frodo’s rhyme was a prayer of sorts – that our hearts are warmed and our courage is renewed.

Words are powerful and meant to be spoken out loud where our ears can hear them. Silence praying is good, but it is no replacement for speaking our heart out loud for we need to be reminded of how powerful our God is.

Here another thing about the story of our Hobbit friends – when Tom Bombadil arrived at the barrow-wight’s cave, he SANG the evil away.

“‘Get out, you old Wight! Vanish in the sunlight!
Shrivel like the cold mist, like the winds go wailing,
Out into the barren lands far beyond the mountains!
Come never here again! Leave your barrow empty!
Lost and forgotten be, darker than the darkness,
Where gates stand for ever shut, till the world is mended.’

At these words there was a cry and part of the inner end of the chamber fell in with a crash. Then there was a long trailing shriek, fading away into an unguessable distance; and after that silence.”

Why did Tom do that? Because, as Tolkien mentioned earlier, Tom Bombadil’s song “are stonger songs.” They are songs that come from the beginning of time and are more powerful then anything in the earth.

So it is with God’s songs.

They are songs that warm the heart and destroy the works of evil; Songs that breathe life into dry bones and loosens the chains of the captive. God’s songs are new and afresh each day, pouring forth from the heart like liquid honey – smooth, golden and refreshing. They are songs that some may say are nonsense, but instead of listening to naysayers, we should be like Old Bombadil and sing our songs loud and free with a merry step.

Let us shout for joy for we have been set free!

Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.

Let them praise the name of the LORD, for at his command they were created,
and he established them for ever and ever— he issued a decree that will never pass away.

Psalms 148:1-6