Friday, October 14, 2016


Have you ever wondered why scriptures so often urge us to worship, magnify and praise God? Does God need our adoration to satisfy some infinitely super-sized ego?

I don't think so. I have come to believe that worship is meant to help us focus on what is ultimately and eternally important, as an alternative to our becoming preoccupied with our own self-centeredness and self-seeking.

Worship is similar to the absolute attention a commander musters from his troops when preparing them for a mission. When the command "Attention" is given, all enlisted members in a unit line up in formation and face forward, awaiting orders. They then pledge their absolute allegiance and give their undivided attention to understanding and wholeheartedly responding--with all of their "heart, soul, mind and strength"--to the directiions they are given.

As called out members of God's enlisted people, our mission is to incarnate the life and carry on the work Christ came into the world to accomplish, an assignment no less challenging and dangerous as going into battle. And for God's kind of non-violent mission of waging God's peace and extending God's justice and grace we need all of the rallying and all of the inspiration and equipping possible.

Without that kind of worshipful, undivided attention, we can become aimless, self-absorbed and useless to the world around us, too earthly-minded to be of much earthly good.

I love this rendering of a part of Psalm 96 from Eugene Person's the Message:
7 Bravo, God, Bravo!
Everyone join in the great shout: Encore!
In awe before the beauty, in awe before the might.

8-9 Bring gifts and celebrate,
Bow before the beauty of God,
Then to your knees—everyone worship!

10 Get out the message—God Rules!
He put the world on a firm foundation;
He treats everyone fair and square.

11 Let’s hear it from Sky,
With Earth joining in,
And a huge round of applause from Sea.

12 Let Wilderness turn cartwheels,
Animals, come dance,
Put every tree of the forest in the choir—

13 An extravaganza before God as he comes,
As he comes to set everything right on earth,
Set everything right, treat everyone fair.
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