Devotional Thought of the Day:
14 When I think of the greatness of this great plan I fall on my knees before God the Father (from whom all fatherhood, earthly or heavenly, derives its name), and I pray that out of the glorious richness of his resources he will enable you to know the strength of the spirit’s inner re-inforcement – that Christ may actually live in your hearts by your faith. And I pray that you, firmly fixed in love yourselves, may be able to grasp (with all Christians) how wide and deep and long and high is the love of Christ – and to know for yourselves that love so far beyond our comprehension. May you be filled though all your being with God himself!
20 Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine – to him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ for ever and ever, amen! Ephesians 3:14-20 (Phillips NT)
77 You told me that to tie yourself to a plan of life, to a schedule, would be so monotonous! And I answered, “It is monotonous because you lack love.”
It is sometimes. Ver much so more than I would like to admit.
It doesn’t matter if it is a high powered contemporary service, or a organ blasting traditional service, or a small intimate worship time on a retreat.
Church services can be boring, even monotonous,
And while the pastor and those who music facilitates our praises can impede or encourage worship, there is one key that absolutely makes the difference in whether you find a church and the worship service.
I’ve seen couples where one is completely engaged in worship, one is actively engaged, and talks about church as the high point of their week. The spouse, however, was so disengaged that they eventually fell asleep.
What makes the difference in perception is the person.
St Josemaria says it well, it is monotonous because of the truth of this, you lack love.
And if you lack love, there are two options, you are unable to love God and others, or what is necessary to love him, you haven’t been immersed in the reality of HIs love for you. You haven’t had the opportunity, as St Paul desired for you, to explore the incredible dimensions of that love for you.
Not just know the love as a piece of data, because you can’t fully, it is so far beyond our comprehension, You need to be filled with that love, you need to be filled with God.
And that is the purpose of a church service, to help you explore that depth, and those who lead are simply guides on the journey. Guides who hopefully are still in awe of the same journey, pointing out this treasured point, and that, how this explores the heights, and that explores the depths.
For if you know how incredible God’s love is for you,
And when you do, the hunger to more will help you engage, to enter the service as a participant as we dance with God, rather than being an observer. For everyone has a part in worship, every voice has its role, a part in the service. It’s not just about the guys up there in robes, We are just there to point you to the love that God has for you, the incredible love that makes a difference in every aspect of your life.
So when you come into a church, expect something special, expect to hear you are loved, listen for it, rejoice in it, walk in it, even dance in it, and then love and adore the God who loves you.
The same service will never be the same.
Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 339-340). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought/Discussion Thought of the Day:
“Look, I am with you always, yes, until the end of time” Mt. 28:20 (NAB)
19 Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God; 20 he bought you for a price. So use your bodies for God’s glory. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (TEV)
“Work with cheerfulness, with peace, with presence of God. In this way you will also do your task with common sense. You will carry it through to the end. Though tiredness is beating you down, you will finish it off well; and your works will be pleasing to God.” (1)
It doesn’t matter the job that we have, there are times where it can zap the life out of you. Sometimes it is because it is too routine, and the same old tasks begin to bore us and tire us and drain all our energy from us. Sometimes it is because our work is hard, our days are too long, and we become exhausted. ( I love the study that says we get more work done working 55 hours a week than 70 – well I love to think about it – even as I probably prove it all too accurate.)
As I enter my second week of work since returning from the mission field, I know I am going to be exhausted by the end of this week – and some of my normal routine will suffer. So as I am doing devotions today, I read the above quote by St. Josemaria – a man whose life makes mine seem sedate and peace-filled.
His words resonate with some recent experience, my mission trip in China where tiredness was itself overwhelmed by my awareness of God’s presence. Of course He is with us everywhere, in every moment of our lives, because of His work in calling us to faith, in the work of God in our baptisms, as we are united to Christ’s death and resurrection, and the Holy Spirit is given residence in our lives.
But, when we get tired, and when we get bored, do we remember this? Or do we take the presence of God in our lives, and reduce it to some abstract, unconnected point of doctrine, some bit of trivial knowledge.
My friends, the ancient greeting of the church, “The Lord is with you”, must take root in our lives, it is the essential truth that makes a difference – that God has invested Himself in us, in His people, in our lives.
As we realize this, what happens is seen above, our lives become more focused, our vocations are lived out more completely. Not because of our diligence, not because of our… goodness. But because the presence of God changes what we do into something shared with Him.
Walk with God… revel in His mercy, His love, His will to restore us, to cleanse us, to be His people, and He, our Lord, our God, our Dad.
So bored at work? exhausted by the daily grind?
Pray, and realize you dwell in the presence of God.
(1)Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 2691-2693). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.