April 18, 2014


Worship (v): to offer oneself as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to a merciful God (see Romans 12:1-2)

It is no accident that Paul begins Romans 12 with the reassurance that God is merciful. Remembering God's mercy, or "in view of God's mercy," we are to make ourselves as living sacrifices. Our whole lives require a re-orientation if we're to get this right. Offering ourselves up as sacrifices, even living sacrifices, means that we are now at the mercy of God - every part of our lives are open for His use; every decision, every relationship, every resource.

So worship - true worship - requires an extraordinary amount of trust.

By Paul's definition, I can't worship God if I'm holding something back, because that's not all of me. Trust is scary; people who place their lives or their families or their jobs in the hands of God have lost them. Our individuality is not the only thing at play here, the Kingdom is far bigger than any one of us. Let's face it, it's a risk; we don't know what God is going to do with us once we give our lives to him. There are a lot of reasons to hold something back; I don't want to lose my wife, or my kids, or my job, or my friends, or my house, or my stuff, or my security ... simply, I don't want to lose my self-made identity. I hold on to all these things because I like them, because they matter to me, because I've worked so hard to get those things.

But Jesus says, those who lose their lives find them.

Jesus says that it takes trust in order to truly live. When we hold onto everything so tightly, we're not really alive. Paul observed that when people gave their lives to Jesus, when they let go of everything - when they worshipped - they received back far more than they gave. People that give up everything are transformed into new people, better people, people of a Kingdom made to bring Heaven on Earth. 

If our lives are lived in worship, we model the Passion of Jesus. We don't have to trust blindly; Jesus did it first. Jesus trusted the Father, and said, "not my will, but yours." And so can we die to ourselves, to the things we've created for ourselves, to the things we've decided are most important in this world, trusting that God will start over with us. We can trust that He'll take the lives we've laid down and re-create them stronger, purer, brighter, more true than we ever could have been before. We emerge from our watery graves new, whole, clean.

That is another reason we gather every week: to share those stories. In singing, in hearing from the scriptures, in our conversations with one another, we hear more stories of how God is worthy of our trust, and we are able to encourage others to trust a little more. Because when we gather together, trust comes easier. We can hold up those who don't have enough trust to keep going, who the tides of life have worn down, who hear the voices from the outside screaming of their supposed madness. And together we bury our pride and our insecurities in the presence of God and are again reborn.

We are, after all, a Resurrection people.

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