In 2000 I shunned the new “worship movement.” Part of an acoustic band myself, I grew cynical of the pomp and show accompanying the new worship music. I wanted things stripped down, naked and without guile. But wasn’t I simply desiring a different, contrasting method myself. What is important when it comes to music and worship?

I believe the method must fit the message, but more than method I believe most important is an unveneered encounter with God. How far will we go to fabricate an experience that feeds our sensual desires when what God desires is an authentic encounter?

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)

But I also believe there are those leaders among us who’ve been to Sinai. They’ve returned with the glow of Moses and they communicate that brilliance with song (and art, poetry, dance). We watch them climb into the cleft of the rock and reach out for God as he passes by. We feel them reaching and think we can fabricate that same feeling, that same reaching, without ourselves going up to the mountain.

The result? A mimed worship experience on Sundays, devoid of true encounter. Moses talked with the LORD. He inquired of the LORD. He pushed on the LORD. And the LORD announced Himself, passed by—Moses saw Him, if only His back.

Oh, to possess the boldness of Moses. “Let me see you, LORD. Let me see your glory!”

What would our Sunday gatherings turn into if, on these Little Easters, we climbed into the cleft of the rock, huddled as God’s children craning our necks just to catch a glimpse of our Father? What if our thirst was not for the sensual experience but for the brilliance of God’s glory, covering our lives like the summer gleam?

It’s not enough to mime the holy encounters of others. We must approach the mountain, cast away our fear and insecurity and fall on our faces. Then and only then will find our way up the mountain.

Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:1,2)

After your chaotic struggle to make it to church this Sunday, breathe. Walk in to your own tent of meeting and listen. In the quiet the LORD speaks. As you stand within his quiet, gather boldness, gather your fears, gather your broken pieces and ask Him … go ahead, ask him.

”LORD, will you show me your glory?”

”Hide hear dear child. I will pass by and you will see me. After I pass, show your brothers and sisters—not in a show, but with the sweetness of your life and evidence of Spirit rummaging through your soul.”

”And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

— The Prayer Series: Veneering Sinai

Timothy Willard is the author of three books, including Longing For More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life. He has collaborated on over 20 books and has written, consulted and served as spiritual director for organizations such as Chick-fil-A, Catalyst, Q Ideas and Praxis Labs. He lived in Oxford, England for two years studying beauty in the works of C.S. Lewis. He earned his PhD in Theology under the supervision of world-renowned theologian Alister McGrath. When he’s not riding the trails in the Appalachian mountains you can find him by the fire with his three daughters and his wife making up stories about Tom the back yard badger. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.