Monday, May 09, 2005

Trusting God to be among us

JD of Out There Hope Remains wrote this past weekend about Christian assemblies. JD's essay is full of good advice, particularly in pointing out that worshipping God really doesn't depend on how it makes us feel:

We want to feel connected to God. We should not put our FAITH in the FEELING that we are connected to God. The connection to God is a matter of trust in the revelation of His will ... and our feelings will come and go. Are we addicted to feeling God's presence? I hear worship leaders say things like, "God really moved here tonight" or "God is in the house" ... as if He wasn't there before. I know what they mean. They mean that there is a feeling that has been achieved. Truly, though, God is there when the feelings are all gone.

Amen. Years ago I attended a prayer retreat for ministers from a variety of Christian traditions. During the course of the weekend one or two of the men very nearly had temper tantrums in demanding that God move among us "in a mighty way." They prayed and prayed that God would show up and give us some kind of grand gesture. I honestly didn't know the best thing to do. I kept thinking of Jesus' words in Mt. 18:19-- "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." God was already there, and we simply needed the faith to believe him. "The wind blows where it wills" (Jn. 3:8). It's great when God moves our hearts and minds in worship in a special way. But most of the time worship, like all areas of our lives, is practiced in the calm, familiar landscape in which faith in God's promises is the pathway to joy.


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