Even John the Baptist was skeptical if Jesus was the Messiah, and he was there when the Heavens opened up! Clearly, I’m not the only one who has doubted God. If doubt weren’t present in faith, I think people would have a harder time finding the desire to seek God more. I’ve been wanting more lately. I went to group on Wednesday. I usually go merely because I like it, but this time I went because I wanted to worship God. That seems so simple and superficial, but the act of worshiping God because you feel blessed in the midst of the chaos of your life is a blessing in itself. Jan Johnson talks about worship and poses the question ”why do we worship?” I still wonder a little, but essentially, it’s to give praise to God. But, there’s more to it than that. We worship God to give us structure in life, and remind us of our purpose. I find myself in the midst of structured worship at church or group and I realize it’s not Jesus I’m after. I’m going for something else and I want Jesus to be my pathway to that. But, I’m not getting what I want, and I’m getting impatient with Him. Johnson says how true worship should quiet us and focus our attention on the will of God in our lives. It should nurture our connection with God. In other words, it should reestablish our relationship with God so we can be God’s hands and feet, not merely our own. I like to imagine that when we dream, we are co-creating a world of infinite potential— of limitless possibility. I forget it’s all God. This is good because, as I know so well, we as flawed humans are bound to failure on our own, but with God everything is possible accordingly to His will. Worship should remind us of our dependency on God and the virtue that exhales.
Something else I learned since last week was how I am worthy of God’s use. It’s funny to me that I didn’t understand this before. But, as we discussed in class, Jesus’ twelve disciples were ordinary men! Esther, Paul, Elijah, Isaac, Moses, Abe, David, Joseph, Jacob, and on and on were normal human beings. They would be disloyal, adulterers, cowards, and not confident. God uses people that you would not expect, like myself. And even though Jesus didn’t have perfect disciples, they carried out God’s plan of redemption. In a way, it was their imperfections that made them good disciples. I can imagine them responding to Jesus’ call willingly because they were broken and could see themselves learning from Jesus and all He had to say. So, it’s clear that Jesus cared about everyone.
One of the afflictions of being a Christian has been to listen, with a straight face, to all the reasons people give for not going to church. There was a time when I responded to such statements with simple arguments that exposed them as flimsy excuses. Then I noticed that it didn’t make any difference. If I showed the inadequacy of one excuse, three more would pop up in its place. So I don’t respond anymore. I listen, with a straight face, and go and home and pray that person will one day find the one sufficient reason for going to church, which is God. I go about my work praying that what I do and say will be usable by the Holy Spirit to create in that person a determination to worship God in a Christian community.
Many churches tend to be homogenous. It’s because we like people that are like us. We want a church that we like, but maybe what we like isn’t right. The unity we have now in worship is partial and broken, but we try. Why were there twelve disciples? Well, there were twelve tribes of Israel. This showed that Jesus was gathering and transforming all of Israel. In terms of myself, I’m learning that love is deeper than just being nice. Everyone’s nice and loving to the people who are nice and loving. It’s easy for me to be nice to everyone. I used to pride myself on that and I still do to an extent, which is wrong. The test is to be nice and loving to those who are different and who don’t necessarily reciprocate that love.
There are a lot of people who affirm the existence of God with their lips, and they deny His existence with their lives. There are those who become so involved in looking at the man-made lights of the city that they unconsciously forget to rise up and look at that great cosmic light and think about it—that gets up in the eastern horizon every morning and moves across the sky with a kind of symphony of motion and paints its technicolor across the blue—a light that man can never make. I want to say that’s what I live for.
God teach me to love all people because I can’t on my own. Help me to worship for the right reasons and surrender in full to your will for my life. You’re what I claim to live for. I don’t want to be a liar. Amen.
Alright, until next week, my friends. Oh, check out Psalm 122.