Friday, December 23, 2005

The Prophet of Advent: 4th Friday-B

Read Isaiah 58

A friend of mine refers to me as a
'curmudgeon-in-training' and I have
to admit that there are times when I do
resemble that remark! I guess I have
reached that age (that occurs in every
generation) where the things (music, movies,
TV, behavior) of the younger crowd
annoy me.

I do hope that I have managed to become
a little 'looser' in worship. I enjoy telling
a good joke in a sermon, and find that the
genuine, spontaneous occasions of laughter
in a service can add to its meaning. But,
I still feel uncomfortable when people applaud
for the choir/musicians, or with some of the
'gimmicks' (IMHO) that some churches resort
to, or some of the so-called praise tunes that
are combined with rather insipid lyrics.

It seems like even God turns curmudgeonly
when it comes to worship. What we think
makes for good worship doesn't seem to float
God's boat, according to the prophet. Some
of the words we use sound hollow to God;
some of the actions we take don't begin to
tickle God's fancy; some of the songs we sing
seem to put God to sleep.

But, when we leave the communion Table and
go out and feed folks at the nearby shelter, that
turns God on; when we take off our winter coat
and drape it around a shivering child, that catches
God's attention; when we stop turning holy days
into holidays - then we will discover that true
worship we need.

Then we won't need to drag oursleves out of bed;
then we won't need to grumble as we get the
kids ready; then we won't dread Sundays, but we
will delight in them, even as we delight in
the Lord who has given the sabbath to us.


Sender of Sabbaths: as we serve others, as we
remove the burdens of others, as we clothe the
naked and feed the hungry, may we discover that
we are worshiping you in the way you would have
us do so. In Jesus' name. Amen.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

No comments: