Earthquakes, Rocks, and Death, Worship Stimuli?
Devotional thought of the day:
11 Praise him, kings and all peoples, princes and all other rulers; 12 young women and young men, old people and children too. 13 Let them all praise the name of the LORD! His name is greater than all others; his glory is above earth and heaven. Psalm 148:11-13 (TEV)
37 When he came near Jerusalem, at the place where the road went down the Mount of Olives, the large crowd of his disciples began to thank God and praise him in loud voices for all the great things that they had seen: 38 “God bless the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory to God!” 39 Then some of the Pharisees in the crowd spoke to Jesus. “Teacher,” they said, “command your disciples to be quiet!” 40 Jesus answered, “I tell you that if they keep quiet, the stones themselves will start shouting.” Luke 19:37-40 (TEV)
878 Everything can be put right… except death. And death puts everything right. (1)
Last Sunday, as we gathered for worship, I was taken back in time.
My friends were trying to get a hold of her dad, who was up in Napa, whose house was in the middle of the area damaged by the earthquake.
I was taken back to the day of the Northridge earthquake. we were the people on the other side of the phone. Well actually we were standing outside of the sidewalk, wondering what was next. We were there, with so many that lived in our complex. I remember someone, as the sun came up, started singing, and we all joined into the hymn, praising God. The following Sunday, in order to break the idea, our Worship Minister, Ken Hawes tried to break the idea by saying, “See what happens if we don’t worship? The rocks cry out like last week.” Luckily we all loved Ken, and he survived that comment!
The readings this morning reminded me of that comment, and our need to praise God. Not because He will send a earthquake if we don’t, but because it reveals that we understand why we were created. To walk with God! This God, YHWH, is greater than any other. So incredible, so beyond out imagination, the One who creates and redeems and sustains. The God who calls us to walk with Him. Who stands beside us, no matter the situation.
Which is why we praise Him.
Not just because of earthquakes, and rocks crying out, though those things can easily remind us of our frailty,
So how does death fit into this? I am just trying to jam it in, because it was part of my reading this morning? Not necessarily, though I had to think about how it could be a corollary to the quakes.
Some of the most passionate worship comes as we contemplate death, especially the death of a believer. like in those moments after the quake, priorities line up in the correct order.
and worship, so mellow and sweet that we know He is present, sweeps through us, and His presence brings peace. For we, in the face of our weakness, in our helplessness, rejoice in His presence.
The events, whether a quake, or cancer, or even death are not the stimuli for our worship. God’s majesty, His glory, His love and mercy and peace, He presence stimulates that joy. And in those times, all other things set aside… we see it.
May it be we see it more in other moments of our life as well!
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 3590-3591). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.