Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. God has timing for everything. Today is always a good day simply because the One who ordains this day to us is good. Our God may not be nice. He will put us through difficult trials or pruning that we hate. We complained to God when things did not come our way. We hate running into dead-end street. We hate being trapped in desperation and destitutions. We hate to be out of control. We question the existence of God when He does not answer our prayers according to what we want. Yes. Our God is not nice, but He is always good and faithful to those who abide in His love.
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (2 Cor 1:20-22). The end result of the act of worship is that our lives are turned around. We come to God with a history of nay-saying, of rejecting and being rejected. At the throne of God we are immersed in God’s yes, a yes that silences all our noes and calls forth an answering yes in us. God, not the ego, is the center. God is not someone around whom we make calculating qualifications, a little yes here, a little no there. In worship we “listen to the voice of Being” and become answers to it. The self is no longer the hub of reality, as sin seduces us into supposing.
We are trained from infancy to relate to the world in an exploratory, exploitive way, refusing and grabbing, pushing and pulling, fretting and deceiving. As knower and user the ego is a predator. But in worship we cease being predators, who by stealth approach everyone as prey that we can pull into our center; we respond to the center. We are privileged listeners and respondents who offer ourselves to God, who creates and redeems. Amen! Amen is recurrent and emphatic among God’s people. It is robust and exuberant. There is nothing trembling, cautious, or timid in it. It is an answering word, purged of all negatives.
Eugene Peterson is a prolific writer. It is not easy sometimes to follow his trace of thought. He likes to dig deep into simple or ordinary things in life. I will not look at my ego as a predator trying to explore and exploit the world of knowledge or the mind of other human being. But when he put such light on our ego, it dawns on me a reality that we are egocentric. We look for things or human beings to meet our needs, whether it is psychological, physical, emotional or intellectual. We look for things that are pleasing to our sights, tastes and desires. But in worship, we surrender ourselves or our ego to the altar, and wholeheartedly say Yes to God in whatever He wants from us. Unless we say Yes to God, we are still seeking out things for our ego, including our ministry.
Have mercy on us O Lord! We are so used to see things from an egocentric perspective but not Theocentric or Christocentric perspective. We don’t see what God wants us to see or hear what God wants us to hear. Once again, I am reminded by what our Lord said, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19). The more I focus on God, the more I become sensitive to what God is doing around me. Enjoy your Sabbath and time with your family in this coming weekend.
Love you in Him,