Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hello, God? Can you hear me now?

“Wait a minute, I’ve got a call on the other line.    Ok, I’m back, can you hear me?  Wait...let me walk over by the window.   How about now?    Ohhh...someone’s at the door, please hang on for me. All right, *sigh* I’m sorry, I really need to talk to you.  All is calm now, can you hear me clearly?  Yes?  Good.  Lord, I need some help.    I’m tired and I just can’t seem to get all my tasks done.;  I need more hours in the day.  My friend has just had surgery and I’m asking if you’ll please aid her recovery...  And could you please make Jane more easy to get along with?  I don’t know how to deal with her....  God?  Are you still there?    ...and just one more thing, would you please give me some patience right now? The kids still haven’t cleaned their rooms and I’ve tripped over their shoes and that squeaky thing on the kitchen floor three times now.  I’m about to blow my top.    I’m sorry, I wish I had more time but I have to go.  I have an appointment and can’t be late...I’ll talk with you again later”


Of all the possible distractions in prayer and worship, I am chief among them.  

I wrote previously that when I was frustrated in our Methodist Church, “I wasn’t getting anything out of it anymore!”  Well, this frustration was only part of the problem.  The larger difficulty was my perspective of what worship should be.  

Is worship for the believer?  If I’m not moved by the sermon or inspired by the choir, does this mean “real worship” has not occurred?   If the pastor was “off”  in his delivery and motivation, do I just shrug my shoulders and say he was having a bad day?  What am I suppose to “get out” of worship?

In truth, I should be on my hands and knees in worship praising God for His awesome mercy and love in my life.  My face should be on the ground at His feet!  It isn’t about me.  It isn’t about my preferences in worship music, church decor and the length of the sermon.  It’s about praising our Creator, the blessed Trinity in one God, the Father of Lights!    The question isn’t what do I “get out” of worship, it’s “what am I giving?”   

Praise God for His mercy and patience with me.  

As I can recall the first few months of worshipping at St. George Orthodox Cathedral, I distinctly remember the impact of hearing but not seeing the choir (the choir is located in the rear balcony above the nave) and watching the priest raise his arms upward in a gesture of worship to Christ our King with his back turned to the congregation.  This was worship like I had never experienced it before; worshipping with the priest, the clergy, the chanters, the readers...all of us, facing East, looking upward at those beautiful icons, smelling the heavenly incense and nothing in mind save Christ our King and Saviour.  Everything in the church, all that you see, hear, touch, taste and smell point to Christ our Redeemer...everything.   This is the worship described in Holy Scripture; praise God for healing in His house.  For as we give of ourselves in worship, as we empty our self-centeredness, so we receive His abundant grace.

God is always present.  The question isn’t “God, can you hear me now?”, it’s, “Amy, are you listening?”

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