Sunday morning, 8:05 arrival at church, and the question I’ve been seeking an answer to is being asked: Why? Why do I come here each week? When my obligation as a part of the worship team or the compulsion to play music is laid aside, what is there that draws me here? Or, is obedience to duty enough? Is that sufficient to bring me here? Is there a deeper connection, or does the deeper connection come because I took the first step – obedience to come where I know I should be?
Or am I just full of hooey and need to get over myself? Hmmm… Might have just hit on it after all…
Let me back up a bit… January has been a month of thinking and writing for me – a time to step away from some distractions and take a look at where the past nine months have brought me. I’m almost half the size I was in January 2009, have lost 163 pounds since March 30th, and there are some days where I have no idea who that man is looking back at me in the mirror.
So I’m seeking the eye of the hurricane, to sit in a calm place for a bit and let the dust settle.
The service begins, and I’m listening…
“with a thankful heart I bring my offering” …
“I will not forget you are my God my king…”
I do forget. In the rush of getting here, getting the bass hooked up, running down the set list – I do forget.
“be the fire in my heart, be the wind in these sails, be the reason that I live – Jesus.”
Lost in the busyness. Lost in the routine. Perhaps the desire was still there all along – just got a bit buried.
Josh makes a good point as we talk before the service. Maybe the desire to come to church is just a myth. I mean, who in his right mind wants to get up way, way early, get dressed, shuffle out to a cold car, drive to church, and by the time you get there, be all smiley and happy and joyful?
Perhaps the point IS obedience. The act of getting up and out to church is one of will – an active decision to go and be a part of something that we KNOW we should be a part of. To acknowledge God’s reign over our lives by submitting and obeying. He tells us to be in fellowship with other believers, to gather together.
For some, the desire to come to church might be an eager anticipation of the blessings to come. For others, and I’m finding this means me, the day begins with an act of obedience and duty, and blessings follow because we’re exactly where we should be.
Is there anything wrong with that? I don’t think so. Both are valid and alright. Being eager to come to the house of God and filled with anticipation – wonderful. Making yourself get up and out, not out of joy but an acceptance that this is what you SHOULD do in obedience to Him – wonderful. In either case, you’re here. God shows up, as He always does and meets us here.
Jeremy just said, “we’ve all got our stuff to deal with.” True dat. We are encouraged to come, to lay those burdens aside, and to enter into His presence to be renewed. If it takes an act of will and obedience to bring us here, so be it. Whatever it takes.
Something equally important? Making sure this isn’t the only such encounter with God we have for the week. This is only one time to meet with Him – something that should be happening daily, hourly, minute by minute. Perhaps the desire and anticipation to meet Him here is deadened if it’s the only time we spend with Him all week. The eager anticipation comes from once again meeting a dear friend and spending time with them.
And I’m not talking about our church families. They are dear and loved and we should want to be with them.
But the less intimate we are with our Father, the less we “feel.” No wonder we fall further and further into “numb” – losing the eager anticipation of worship. Maybe we lose joy and gain guilt – we really should be spending time with Him all through the week, but here we are, having ignored Him since the last time we sat in these chairs. No wonder we kind of drag our feet when we shuffle through the door.
Jeremy just asked, “do you crave God? He is the one we should be desiring more than anything else.” God is narrating this writing, guiding it through the service. What is it that gets in the way of desiring God? What do we (or I) keep putting in His place? What gets in the way? What blocks the desire to meet with Him here?
Maybe it’s this way… we allow clutter to come between us and God, it builds and builds through the tumult of a busy week, so by the time we reach the Sabbath, the mountain of mundane we have to climb over to come and meet with Him is overwhelming. And that certainly can kill any sense of anticipation or desire.
What compels me to meet God here, in His house? Obedience, but not obligation. Responsibility, but not duty. Love, not debt. The sure and certain knowledge that when I show up at His house, He meets me here. As I give Him my time and gifts, He responds with the joyful heart of a Father, watching his kids play just for Him.
Thanks Lord, for January. For time away to really see what You see all along, and to be reminded that it’s easy to let the mechanics of playing music get in the way of the act of worship. Help me to be mindful – to see the meaning in the songs, to be a part of something living and real, to not be a leader in worship but just one who worships with a bass in his hands. Thanks for giving all of us opportunities to participate, to use our gifts just the way You intended and to bring them and lay them at Your feet. May they be a sweet offering to You, our King, our Father, our Redeemer.
See You Sunday, Father. And all the days between now and then.