by: Maryann LeVine
An extreme sport is any sport featuring speed, height, danger, a high level of physical exertion, highly specialized gear, or spectacular stunts. A feature of such activities in the view of some is their alleged capacity to induce a so-called ‘adrenaline rush’ in participants. Some purists repudiate the stereotypical “adrenaline junkie” tag. The practitioners would claim they enjoy developing their physical and mental skills, seek mastery of inhospitable environments; look to escape from the mundane rigors of day-to-day existence, or simply love the wilderness environment in which many of these sports take place. Extreme sports are often associated with young adults wishing to push themselves to the limits of their physical ability and fear, in turn pushing the boundaries of a particular sport. (Excerpt courtesy of Wikipedia)
A full-contact sport contains physical contact between the combatants with the aim of causing a knockout or otherwise rendering the opponent unable to continue the match. In full-contact sports the amount of protective gear is often reduced, and the techniques are executed at full power. (Paraphrased excerpts from Wikipeida)
One may ask how worship can equate to an extreme sport.
While we don’t need specialized gear; what we do is specialized. One won’t find extreme worship and extreme worshippers just anywhere. We don’t need spectacular stunts because the spectacle we long to see is the man, Christ Jesus, high and lifted up to the Gory of god the Father. We long to create the environment where worshippers, not solely the musicians, can participate in the rush of the presence of an awesome all-consuming loving God whose heart is moved with sound. In that rush we expect to be changed as we gaze upon His beauty.
Extreme worshippers are out for the rush; the rush of apprehending the Object of our affections. Our thoughts are all about how to sustain that rush; how to push the envelop o intimacy. When the rush is over, thoughts of recreating it at an even more intense level consume us. We want to travel at light speed, soar on lofty heights, plunge into the depths, and have our breath taken away. We are not satisfied staying in a pew or remaining seated during worship. We expect worship to take us to new adventures in God, away from the typical. We expect to be challenged to surpass the levels of intimacy achieved in the past.
We worship with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength. We expect full contact with God, nothing less. All padding is discouraged; our hearts must be naked before Him. Remember Jacob who wrestled the Lord until his hip was dislocated. He said to God, ‘I won’t let you go until you bless me.’ So the Lord changed his name to Israel and blessed him. Then Jacob said, ‘I have seen God face to face and yet my life has been preserved.’ (Gen 32) We worship not only to seek His blessing but to see Him face to face. He gives us His name and writes it on our hearts as we come near to Him. It is said of Jacob that he limped for the rest of his life as a result of his encounter with the Living God. Our lives are marked forever by the time spent with the Glorious King. We won’t let go of Him as we apprehend Him.
It is for these reasons I believe worship is an extreme full contact sport. I couldn’t have it any other way. My life is spent in pursuit of Him. How extreme are you?