Thursday, November 4, 2010

With My Presence

Last Sunday we looked at our second week in the series of services around the theme: “Blessed to Be a Blessing”. And, we looked at that with our commitment to uphold the church with our presence. We promise to be present in worship. We promise not because worship it is a requirement, but because worship it is a mark of Christians. Christian disciples worship; that’s what we do.

In the sermon I talked about worshiping our Awesome God. When I was young and starting out, an older pastor asked me: “David, what do you consider to be the main problem in the world today with regard to the church?” I said, and I still believe it, that we had lost our sense of “awe” and wonder. The present modern world of the enlightenment has taught us that everything can be explained, everything. If we don’t understand it yet, then we will one day understand it because human ingenuity and intelligence will make it understandable. We understand where the world came from; how we were made, etc. There is nothing in the world or in us that cannot be explained in such a world. The assumption is that if we have right information about something that we have thereby defined it, even God.

Of course, there is no god in this kind of world. If we can’t see it or think of it, it doesn’t exist. Christian faith comes into this world saying that we do not understand everything. Even if we know it’s origins, we have not defined it. The world is still full of mystery and the greatest mystery of all is God, this God who created all things and then created us. Look at the beauty and wonder, the beauty and wonder of human beings.

Worship is bringing ourselves, our lives, before this God in praise and offering. Worship is keeping an appointment that has been made for us with God. Now, certainly worship, like everything, is a choice.

Scripture tells us that we will worship. The question is: which god will we worship? When Moses came down from Sinai he found the children of Israel worshiping a golden calf. We will worship and if not the God of Christian faith, we will worship something usually that is shiny and gold or has the promise of gold.

I find our culture filled with people who are chasing a dream of wealth and teaching their children that this is what we value. You can see the results of such worship and teaching. A world filled with people who are their own god is a world filled with, well, you know, don’t you?

He is called the oldest student in the world. He lived in a village in northern Kenya. Maruge was 86 years old when the government started giving scholarships to school. Maruge, who could not read, but always wanted to learn, went to Elementary School. Pictures show Maruge in a small desk in a class full of small children. Soon, the government changed and Maruge was forced to move. But, he found another school where he did in fact learn to read. The one dream of his life was to learn to read---so that he could read his Bible for himself.

That kind of dream sounds strange to most of us. We have other dreams, but no dream is greater than the dream of worshiping and serving God.
How are you doing with your presence? Are you keeping your weekly appointment with God?

By the way, See you in church!
Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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About Me

A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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