Friday, February 01, 2008

Some more thoughts...

Psalm 55:12-13
My vows to thee I must perform, O God;
I will render thank offerings to thee.
For thou has delivered my soul from death,
Yea, my feet from falling,
That I may walk before God in the light of life.

That first line could be read with an attitude of drudgery and obligation (in a bad way). But, instead I hear great joy in that statement. Like the joy of my dog Trent when I pet him and shower him with attention. He is almost beside himself with joy, he can’t control himself when he gets going. He just wants to lick my face and jump up on me and starts barking at me and starts running around like crazy. He’s so happy that I love him. Or like my neighbor's well behaved Labs. They will willingly sit still and wait because they know you love them. They’ll do all kinds of tricks and obey well in response to the love you’ve shown them in the past. This first line of this Psalm is like a happy, loved animal. The Psalmist is so filled with joy and love that he wants only to worship God. Not because he has been told to or else he’ll get some punishment, but in an uncontrollable response to God’s faithfulness.

What if we each came into worship every week with this kind of response? What if each person in the pew was responding with worship to the God of love, instead of going through the motions to get something, or worse, expecting to get something for doing absolutely nothing – just out of a sense of entitlement? Is that why we’re passive? We pay our money, we wear the right clothes and appear in the right places – we’re entitled to get something and we don’t want to have to work for it during this hour out of our busy lives. We’ve been working hard all week, now it’s “my time.” Is worship “my time” for many people? Perhaps the idea of Sabbath perpetuates this thought? Sabbath is thought of as “my time” to refresh and rejuvenate instead of a time to stop and reflect and focus on God. But wait, didn’t Jesus say that Sabbath was for us? Perhaps it is a time to refresh, relax and rejuvenate. If that’s the case, then is Sunday worship a part of that? Or is Sunday worship separate from Sabbath? The early Christians still observed Sabbath, and worshiped on Sunday (a work day). They didn’t see Sunday as the 7th day of the week as the Sabbath is the 7th day of the week. No, they saw it as the 1st/8th day of the week – the day God created light, and the day God recreated Light. So, perhaps Sunday worship was not a part of Sabbath, because Sunday worship was for God and is work, it is the work we do for God. It’s not the only work we do for God, but it is the work of worship.

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