Vibrant

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
(Romans 12:1-2)

In celebration of the first day of autumn, Middle Tennessee is enjoying a refreshing high of 90°F/32°C with the current heat index at a wicked 96°F/35.5°C. This whole past week has been rather warm, with highs and lows more apt to provoke a craving for ice cream than pumpkin spiced anything (although I understand an adventurous body can now get pumpkin spice ice cream in addition to a myriad of other products that ought never to have been pumpkinized…).

I can only hope we Middle Tennesseans are not in for a repeat of last fall and winter. Last year, summer grandly overstayed her welcome, and though we had a few brief interludes of wintry weather, overall the latter days of 2016 were remarkable for warmth. For the first time since we have lived in this house, I never fully packed away our shorts and tank tops for the simple fact that we needed them last autumn and even through the winter.

Winter was nice, in some ways – once the heat abated. I admit I enjoyed a few Christmas-break strolls in the balmy air. But although last winter was spring-like, it was not spring. It was a cheat, without the quickening of life and color that is the quintessence of true spring. It was warm, but it had no heart.

There were no spring aromas wafting on the breeze. A few confused insects buzzed around but there were no flowers to pollinate. The typical monochromatic greys and browns of a normal Middle Tennessee winter still wearied the eye, the sun still sank before 5:00 pm, and a devilishly hot autumn drought meant that the annual drabness of the landscape began disappointingly early as most deciduous trees simply opted out of the usual autumnal color parade and dropped their withered leaves shrewdly in an effort to mitigate water loss.

In the Christian community, I think sometimes our worship can be a bit like that.

Sometimes, we have many of the right elements and go through all the right motions, but something is missing. There’s a lack of fragrance and sincerity, a drabness to our spirits that belies the effort we put into the appearance of worship. Sometimes, what we call “worship” is really a heartless cheat; a parody lacking the quickening of true love and life that heralds the presence of the Holy Spirit.

No matter what the coming seasons hold, I would like to challenge myself and all my brothers and sisters worldwide to give ourselves up to honest and earnest worship; to a worship that begins with a sincere love of the God of Truth and of his Word of Truth.

And when I say “worship,” I do not mean merely a mindless parroting of words penned by others. I mean worship as it is described the Bible and carrying the connotations of sacrifice and service.

I mean a worship that is not merely performed; that is neither ritual obligation or some scheduled, route transaction but a bona-fide worship springing up naturally from the overflow of a fierce joy and a bone-shaking reverence and a vibrant trust in the One who gave us life, forgave our rebellion, and retains us even now as ambassadors of His scandalous and improbable grace to a world grown weary of drab pretence, empty promises, and false starts.

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
(Isaiah 61:10)

 

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14 thoughts on “Vibrant

  1. Fascinating this. Worship is so multi-faceted for me. Sometimes it is quiet and meditative. Other times worship is highly celebratory and enthusiastic. Still, other times it is sorrowful or terrifying. The Word of God moves one in many and various ways. Having said that, worship is ultimately a magnifying of the Almighty, a time of adoring Him, giving thanks to Him, and giving Him all the praise and glory. Sometimes that just moves your whole body and being. And, when you’re done, you’re worn out. Is that what you’re thinking?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hmm… Worship is multi-faceted for me as well. I probably didn’t articulate it well, but I was really wanting to convey worship as not so much a thing done on Sundays in certain ways, but a thing done every day at all times and spilling out of gratitude and reverence for our God; literally “whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.” Though I didn’t state it expressly, my main thought was that as His ambassadors, worship should so suffuse our lives that the world sees His glory revealed in His people. Kind of like Brother Lawrence worshipping while he peeled potatoes or Mother Teresa worshipping while she tended the sick and unwanted… Worship as a way of life, not just singing some songs (although that can be just as worshipful if the heart is in the right place). That’s more along the lines of what I was thinking, though I likely didn’t fully convey it! Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen! I am prayerfully trying to embrace living worshipfully all the time. But… I get distracted. 😦 However, that beautiful dragonfly was an experience of worship that looked a lot like stalking bugs in my friend’s garden, but hey! I was enjoying my Father’s handiwork!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Firm words Dear Heather.

    The human background tends to make traditions and rituals out of even heavenly things. The Spirit however shows that the way of God is Life that we should experience all day long.

    Worship should stem from reverence, delight in whom God is and His ability. Our deeds should be compelled by this.

    More of Lord Jesus to you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes. I think as long as we walk in the flesh, we will need to be prayerfully mindful of falling into mere habit or ritual rather than true worship… But I also rejoice that our Good Shepherd will always call us back if we stray!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your feedback! I honestly want to worship in spirit and in truth, and hope that my life can be more and more a constant act of worship – but I have a long way to go. 🙂

      Like

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