Monday, June 29, 2009

Wherefore Worship?

There is, I think, something built into every human being (and maybe every creature, plant, animal, bug, inanimate object) on this earth. That is the desire to worship something. says on their list of what "worship" means,

7. To feel an adoring reverence or regard for (any person or thing)

It also comes up with the synonyms: honor, venerate, revere, adore, glorify, idolize, adulate. This is rather telling. Worship is something that is not only done towards a deity, and by the pious, but is also done by the common man, the punk with piercings all over his body, the geek with his calculator in hand, the overworked mom with food on her front, the high school girl in the bathroom making her self throw up.

You know that question: If you were stuck on an island indefinitely, what would you bring with you? (In other words, would could you not do without.) If you're a Christian in a Christian circle when this answer comes up, you're automatically going to give the church answer of "my bible," or, "my book of prayers," or something equally as church-y ("my Hymnal!"). The question is the same when you substitute it with "who would you bring with you" instead of "what". (On a slight side note, there's always the saying about a couple, "He/she worships the ground he/she walks on!")

If you have anything that you, at one point, realize that you couldn't do with out, you are, to some degree, worshiping it. If you have adoring feelings for it that place it above all other things, you are worshiping it. Gosh... that doesn't leave room for much that I'm not worshiping. Maybe I'm being a little extreme here. I think though, to look at one extreme a person needs to look at the opposite extreme. Either your worship everything, or you worship one thing. What you worship will affect your life, the way you live, the way you talk, the way you act.

Have you ever watched a really good movie, read a really good book, or heard a really good song? What happens if you see the movie more then once, read the book over and over again, or hear the song a billion times? I know what happens for me. I start quoting funny lines from the movie, dreaming about characters from the books, or quoting points the author made in the books to make points of my own, or I'll be singing the chorus of the song for weeks, frustrated that I have the "stupid song running around and around in my head again!!" Whatever I'm "in to" becomes a part of me.

Psalm 115 (I love this psalm) says:

4 Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
5They have mouths, but do not speak;
eyes, but do not see.
6They have ears, but do not hear;
noses, but do not smell.
7They have hands, but do not feel;
feet, but do not walk;
and they do not make a sound in their throat.
8 Those who make them become like them;
so do all who trust in them.*

The Bible states that those who worship things, those who make idols out of things will slowly become like them! That's huge. I look at eternity and I realize, do I really want to be like that book, or that person, or that tv show for all of eternity? What do the things I worship on this earth actually do for me? Do they make me a better person? Do they help me find happiness? I'll be happy with them for a little while, but not for all eternity. Twilight, or a CD of songs, or my favorite mascara is looking pretty dull against the backdrop of eternity. So, I need something to match up to this colorful and inexhaustible backdrop.

Right now, there is only one thing I can think of that matches that backdrop and outstretches, outshines and out-colors it. That one thing is God. God is so colorful it hurts. He is so eternal it's exhaustive. He is so personal it's almost too personal. My God created the Heavens and the earth, He created me. He created the things I love. If He created me, that means he also created that desire that I have to worship something. He also realized that I would not find the ultimate satisfaction to that desire here on earth. I was made for something more. I was made to worship Him with all I have. C. S. Lewis once said, "If we discover a desire within us that nothing in this world can satisfy, we should begin to wonder if perhaps we were created for another world." I think he's very, very right.

I told you in my last post that I thought God might be teaching me about worship. What I have realized recently is that the worship we have here is a taste of heaven. We practice worshiping God here because that's all we'll be doing in heaven. We practice singing songs of praise to God so we can be ready to sing out in our best voices in heaven! What's amazing is that we can worship God through making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (to quote Matt Gurney), or by putting our socks, or flipflops on in the morning. I'm never fully going to stop learning about worship, just like I'm never fully going to stop learning about relationships, God's sovereignty, or anything else that God reveals to me about Himself! The worship that I'm learning here on earth is just practice so that I can worship God with all my might when I finally get to heaven.

With everything I do in live, I want to worship God. I want my whole life to be a "living sacrifice," testifying to the amazing power of my Lord. He created me, and he created the ground I walk on. Like I've said elsewhere, I want to worship the God whose ground I walk on.

That's all for tonight folks! (I really need to get to bed...)

*ESV translation, (It's so good, I suggest reading the whole psalm!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

lessons learned, part etc.

Many times I feel like God is trying to teach me something. For the past two years now, I felt like God has taught me in blocks. They normally go in chunks of school years and summers. It's strange, really, but exciting.

My first year at college was all about me learning that God is really bigger then anything I can throw at Him. I had to find a new church, a new "family", a new campus ministry, new friends, and while all that seemed overwhelming, God took care of every single one of those details, and He did them in perfect timing. I can look back on that school year and say that I grew in God through what I learned that year.

That first summer home was spent on communication with my family, with my parents, and through re-learning how to communicate with my parents, God taught me how important the unit called "family" was. Without my family, without my parents and all the support I've gotten through this unit, I wouldn't have gotten where I am today. Thank God for His gracious support through my family.

My second year at college was all about relationships. It's as if God said, "You figured out that I can handle anything, so why don't you hand me your relationships?" About half way through the fall semester, I broke my finger, and couldn't play violin, or anything except very feeble piano, for about 6 or 7 weeks. During this time, I had an identity crisis, because I'd always (for at least 10 years) been "the violinist", and now I couldn't play. I even got to the point where I was asking the question, "If I died tonight, would anyone, besides my family, miss me past the first week?" And then I realized, through talking with my RUF leader that if I was putting that much of my identity into my violin, that was that much identity not being placed in God. I needed to find my identity in Him, and Him only, because He is the one who gave me my talent for musical instruments to begin with!

Also, that year, I had a slight panic attack because I liked a guy and knew he wasn't going to like me back, and as per Hana, I couldn't figure out what to do about it, when it was kinda like, "let's sit back and enjoy the ride, see where it goes, and while we're at it, maybe we'll pursue God in the meantime." God was gracious an honored my feeble attempts to pursue Him, and one night in March, knocked on the door of my heart and was like, "You don't need a knight in shining armor! Duh! I'm your knight! I've been here since the beginning, just waiting to sweep you off your feet! I rescued you from a dragon." It was amazing, because that night, I was able to say for the first time in my life that I was happy being single, and it wasn't because I didn't have a crush, but it was because God, Jesus, was/is my bridegroom.

I can already tell that this summer, God is teaching me about worship. What it means to truly worship Him with everything that I do, whether in word or in deed. As further proof of this, the theme of my Christian string camp this summer is "worship through the ages" and what it means to worship God with everything that you do. It's so exciting! I can't wait until God gets to the punchline!

Over and out