God’s Gift Of Worship
Thoughts on the First Readings – Joe Frankenfield
Revelation 7:9, 14-17
If God can watch over and take care of you day and night for a week, don’t you think you owe him at least one hour of worship on Sunday? I remember hearing our pastor utter those words in many Sunday sermons when I was a youngster. He seemed to miss the irony of voicing his frustration to us in church. I figured that he assumed that we would somehow convey the message to the miscreants sleeping in or mowing their lawns.
Years later I began to wonder about the more central issue of how we could be in debt to God for his care. What could we owe God who makes everything possible for us – including our appreciation of all his gifts? The idea of being obligated to our Creator seems to demean him. It somehow places God on our level as someone who benefits or suffers from what we give or withhold.
Our life is full of those whose love leaves us in their debt. They’re precious to us and we can’t imagine life without them but God’s love has to be beyond that experience. His has to be a love that leaves us debt-free: a love totally without strings. Not only have we nothing to offer God that God hasn’t given us first but a God in any way dependant on us cannot pull us up from our self-centeredness, our cussedness, our fears – our sin.
Then what does it mean to worship God? Why engage in it?
Worship means aligning our minds and hearts with God’s mind and heart. How could we know God’s mind and heart? Jesus’ life revealed God’s vision and God’s concerns – at least those we can understand.
Why worship? If a person can know what the Creator of the universe is doing, who in their right mind wouldn’t hop on that bandwagon. As a friend of mine from India used to say, “In the end, the wise rider goes where the elephant wants.” As my fourteen year old niece says, “Duh!”