Friday, May 13, 2011
The Vision (5/12/11): Preparing for Worship
My family recently read through Bruce Ray’s book Celebrating the Sabbath: Finding Rest in a Restless World (P & R, 20000). The book closes with a challenge to keep the Lord’s Day Holily, Happily, Honestly, and Humbly. At one point Ray offers these convicting exhortations:
We come into our King’s presence and our spiritual family reunion tired, late, and unprepared to worship him—if we make it at all. This is not right. If we were this careless in our worldly occupations, we would soon be unemployed. If we treated our natural families and friends with such disrespect, we would soon lose them.
On almost any Sunday afternoon, you will find thousands of people crammed into some sports arena or stadium to cheer on their home team. They prepared for this event. The checked the team schedule and wrote this date on the calendar. They set aside some of their paycheck and bought the best tickets they could afford. They will go to bed at a decent hour so that on the big day they will be rested and able to enjoy the game. They will plan to drive in early so they can find good parking and not be late. Once in the stadium, they will sit for hours on uncomfortable seats or benches without complaining. They are not ashamed to be called fans (short for fanatics). They will shout and cheer and clap their hands and have a wonderful time.
But next Sunday morning, look around you. Where are the crowds to clap and cheer and praise the Lord? They’re all at home sleeping in. It was too hard to get out of bed this morning….There’s too much to do and too little time during the week, so they steal the time that God has specifically set apart for enjoying him and celebrating his works….They wonder why they do not grow spiritually. Why does God seem so distant, and the church so weak? Could it be that grace is leaking out of our earthen vessels like water through a sieve? (pp. 114-115).
May we come into the Lord’s presence this Sunday prepared and fresh with anticipation of meeting with and serving our God.
Grace and truth, Pastor Jeff Riddle