Saturday, September 16, 2023

Thinking About Worship

Because today is Saturday, and it’s the day before I go to gather together for worship with my church family, worship is on my mind. It’s a topic dear to my heart, one I have written about often, and these are photos I have shared many times. I’m sharing them again because they help to tell the story of what is on my mind.

This picture was taken in one of my favorite cities on earth, Jerusalem, at one of my favorite places in that favorite city, the southern steps to the Temple Mount.

This photo below, taken from the Mount of Olives, can put that into context for you. The walled area in the center of the photo is the Temple Mount. The Dome of the Rock is just out of the photo, to the far right just beyond the trees. The Southern Steps are there in the center, just outside the wall of the Temple Mount, just above a small clump of trees.

On each of our trips to Jerusalem, we have had opportunity to sit on those steps and worship. What precious memories I have of those times. Being in that place, very near where Peter preached on Pentecost and 3000 souls were saved (Acts 2:14-41). Hearing the Word proclaimed to us by our pastor in that same place. Praying there on those steps. Worshiping. Those are favorite memories indeed.

I believe there is an important lesson to be learned from those Southern Steps up to the Temple Mount. You see, the interesting thing about these steps is that they are uneven. Some are wide, some are narrow, some are in-between. The result is that there would have been no casual skipping up the steps to worship at the Temple. The nature of the steps requires that the approach be slow and deliberate.

And therein lies the lesson. One we need to remind ourselves of often as we ask ourselves this question: In our increasingly casual world, have we become too casual in our approach to worship?  

Consider this quote from Oswald Chambers:  "If we have never had the experience of taking our casual, religious shoes off our casual, religious feet - getting rid of the excessive informality with which we approach God - it is questionable whether we have ever stood in His presence."

I find myself thinking about that this morning. Our world has become increasingly casual. My concern is not whether your wardrobe is trendy or traditional, or whether your preference is music is casual or classical or country or something in between. 

The issue is not our personal preferences. The issue is what we think about God. And about how we treat Him. My concern is that our casual approach to life has carried over to a very cavalier attitude toward the things of God. 

May we - may I - never be too casual in our approach to a holy God!

"Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts."  (Isaiah 6:3 NASB)

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