"I was thinking..."
I was thinking…Pastor Steve
“I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to
the house of the LORD.’” Psalm 122: 1 (NIV)
As I was reading through the Book of Acts, I was thinking about how things change over time. We all tend to get stuck in a rut and find that it can be comfortable there. Like having your favorite coffee cup with chips and peeling decals on it or a special blanket that really feels good in spite of the fact that it’s frayed and getting worn thin. You all have surprised me. You haven’t grumbled at all (at least that I’ve heard of) about changes I’ve made in the worship service since I’ve been here at Maineville UMC. For that I say, “Thank you.” But we can all be creatures of habit, and sometimes I’m surprised at how much of that creeps into my life.
For example, you may know that I purchased a “new” small truck. (It’s new to me anyway. Yes, it’s a 2003!) As I’ve tried to move into this truck, I’ve discovered how much I’ll miss driving my Kia. I have a place for my GPS in my Kia, I have Bluetooth for my phone on my Kia, and, I found out the hard way, I have room for groceries in my Kia. Now, I really do like the “new” truck, but I hate to give up on some of the old things that I’m used to.
That’s how it is. We are comfortable. We know where things go, how they work, what to expect. I can feel for the Jewish teachers and leaders. This new thing that was happening within their religion was causing an uproar. It was pulling people away from what they had always known, how they ordered their lives, and it looked to have an impact on the way they worshipped God. These new converts to “The Way” (it wasn’t called Christianity yet) were talking about three Gods in One. One of them had been mortal and walked on the earth, right beside them in Jerusalem. Those same teachers and leaders had caused Him to be Crucified. These Jews were losing their grip on a way of life that had gone back centuries.
However, The Way wasn’t abolishing the Old Way; it was showing them a New Way, a Better Way. It was a Way that gave each of them a personal relationship with God that they had never experienced before. It took the mediation by the priest between man and God and handed it over directly to the Believer. The Way revealed that the Holy Spirit would reside within each person who followed Jesus; no longer would the Spirit only rest in the Temple.
And since the presence of The Way, worship has not been the same. Even how we order our worship has changed since the Early Church. Don’t forget, the Catholic Church became the first real order of worship, followed by the Protestant Reformation. Then divisions within brought the Church of England, the Dutch Reformed, the Moravians, the Methodist, Baptists, Lutherans, and so on. Now we have non-denominational churches that are trying to reach the lost and order their worship services in a way they think will help bring Jesus to people. It may not be for us, but it sure seems to be working for them and the Kingdom. Each one of these forms of worship has connected countless people to Jesus.
This brings me back to what I was thinking about, our comfort zones. I don’t like change much either, but sometimes we need to have it. I think God got really tired of the Jews just doing religion; there wasn’t any heart in their worship. They brought their sacrifices, but they went back to doing what they always did and weren’t truly repentant. My Mom says, “To get anything out of the worship service, you need to bring an empty bucket.” She’s right, but the worship isn’t only about us, it’s about God. We gather to worship Him. He’s our focus, and anything we do to accomplish that will be blessed. And I’m sure we will be also. God bless.