Tuesday, May 31, 2011
C. Brian Larson writes, "No matter what our station, daily life in a fallen world is a walk through a gauntlet of belittlement...(we) are bombarded by false values and beliefs that cheapen God's creation, by personal slights and insults, by Satan's accusations. (Our) minds are assaulted by scabrous images in the media and by profanity that is objectionable to God precisely because it debases the creation... After such a week, it's a wonder that a person can walk into church with any sense of worth..."
This is so true. We listen to the voices around us pelting us with the fecal remnants of a Godless life like monkeys throwing their mess around in the zoo cage. We cannot help but come home each night with those demonic visages filling our minds and the accusations of a Godless society ringing in our ears. We struggle on through the week. But after a few days of this brow beating we come into the presence of God. (Some people say that the day of the church building is gone but I prefer to walk into the house where my pastors and elders are praying and interceding for me through out the week; to a place where I have met God numerous times before; to the altar where my vows were taken, my children dedicated to the will of God, my sins were bared before a forgiving God.)
Into that place I walk, and I find the presence of God. From the moment the music starts and the worshipful singing begins I feel myself pulled upward. Like a hand gently lifting my tired body from the heap of the worthless self... my legs strengthen. My back begins to straighten up and my wounded heart begins to release the anxiety it is carrying and beats more freely. A few deep breaths and the presence of God comes to give me succor and strength. Then comes the preaching of the Word of God. The speaker has pondered and prayed; he has listened and labored to find the words that will communicate God's intent for his beloved. The Word is not condemning, nor is it a scolding voice. God is not frustrated, not angry in some sort of divine petulance but he is inviting, calling out, reaching to me to lift me up. He is lifting me to him. The Word of the preacher comes and lifts my soul and I begin to see with a new vision, so unlike the one sold to me by the world. I smell hope cooking in the oven of my soul, I hear courage coming into the vacuum of my once fearful heart, I feel the rush of a new strength coming into me as I see that it is true... Nothing is impossible with God!
My legs gain the strength to stand, my heart knows that I can face another day, my spirit begins to take on the indomitable presence of God. I am shaped, formed and reformed. I am empowered, encouraged and enamored with the one who died for me. I am responding to the Spirit's challenge to me... "will you rise again and take up the challenge of another week?" Rise I do, knowing that I am not alone- to a vacuous world so in need of what I have already received, yet unknowing. And in the hope that I can make a difference for one before it is too late I prepare to make another charge, not in my strength but in the strength of the one who lifts me to his breast and imparts his power in me.
That is the reason I go to church, to be pulled upward.