Thursday, November 6, 2014
I Needed to Worship
My grandmother died on October 10th at 6:15 in the morning. I was in San Antonio visiting my in-laws with my wife and children, and we anticipated the funeral services would be scheduled for Monday. Dawna was observing classes at a local junior high. I took the kids to El Mercado to have some fun shopping. It helped lighten the otherwise melancholy news.
On Saturday, other events made my head spin. It started when I let our dogs out in the morning. They started barking at the dogs next door when suddenly I heard yelping. Turns out, my dog “Lucky” got his ear caught on some sharp ended wire and ripped it open–badly. It took us a couple of hours to stop the bleeding.
Then, just at lunch, Kevin, Jr. walks up to us and says, “My head hurts. My tummy hurts.”
“Do you feel like you are about to throw up?”
“Right here it does.”
Ten seconds later. He does. Dead grandmother. Hurt dog. Sick kid. Will anyone else get sick before the funeral? Will I get sick and be unable to attend my own grandmother’s funeral?
Worship loomed large less than 24 hours away, and I would be leading it. I drove in early Saturday afternoon from San Antonio leaving Dawna, the kids and the dogs behind. My head was spinning after all of the events. My emotions were a wreck. I had difficulty thinking.
More than a few folks were surprised to see me at church on Sunday. A few were bold enough to
ask/chide, “What are you doing here?”
My initial response was, “Who else could do this on such a short notice?” (Which does give me pause for future concerns–in case something does happen.) But as the morning progressed, another answer came forth.
Early service was difficult. I didn’t seem to have the umph in my preaching. Emotions weighed heavily.
Then, at the second service, I stood to sing the Gospel acclamation, “He is Exalted.”
He is exalted the King is exalted on High. I will praise Him.
He is exalted forever exalted, and I will praise His name.
He is the Lord. Forever His truth shall reign.
Heaven and Earth, rejoice in His holy name.
He is exalted, the King is exalted on high.
And there was peace. There was reassurance. There was order in the midst of chaos. Worship refocused everything. EVERYTHING!
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else will be added unto you,” Jesus said in Matthew 7. It all became clear.
Worship is the time when our lives center–even for just an hour–on God and His Kingdom. It is the time where we block out all the false gods which try to place themselves at the center of our lives–false gods which only bring chaos and disharmony into our being. As God becomes the center and we hear of His actions and deeds, everything else falls into place–not that we completely understand it; however, we have a deep sense of trust in the One who watches over us daily.
Many I visit with talk about how their lives are chaotic; busy; burdensome. Our society certainly seems this way–a lot. Is it any wonder? Worship, for the most part, is no longer central to our lives. False gods dominate us and cause chaos. And instead of turning to worship, we try harder to appease those false gods! It’s a self-defeating proposition.
If your life resembles chaos. If you find yourself without peace. If you find yourself being pulled every which way but loose, worship. Regularly. When God becomes the center, things change drastically. You find what I found after my grandmother died, my dog was injured, my son became sick, and I was overcome by the chaos of it all. I needed to worship.