Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Worship in a Box


A series of boxes hold Christmas decorations. Each box is completely full and packed tightly. It’s time to start decorating, but to my complete confusion I have found someone who insists that we only use the decorations in one box, one box that they have filled. I can see all of the other choices, but the response is an insistence to just use that one box. I agree, hoping that when we get started with one box, others will be added – building on momentum. One box gives us the bottom of the center pole for a Christmas tree, three of the needed branches, a dozen ornaments, and a door hanger for a wreath.

Sound odd? Sound like hyperbole? Sound like there is more to the story? 

There is! But, we need to take a small side trip to get to the ending.

A few years ago, I heard someone talking on the radio about choosing a different word each year to mull over, think on, study, and intentionally consider over the course of the comings and goings of the next 365 days. I have done this for a few years, and my word this year is worship.

In studying the word worship, I find that it is first mentioned about 700 years ago in a format we would find more familiar in an English root. Basically, it is defined as a sense of reverence for something that is worthy of honor, glory; a divine being. I love how big this word is!

After learning about where the word came from, I started looking around at how this word is used around me. I caught glimpses of that broadness, but most of the time I have found worship smashed into a box, kind of like those Christmas decorations. (Told you we would get back there eventually.) 

Remember the one odd ball box of decorations? I don’t decorate like that and I bet you don’t either. But I found worship compressed into one media - one style - one speed - one color, or maybe if it was a big box, two or three.  The one, two or three worship definitions smashed into the box has nothing wrong with it. Not wrong, but limited. I have struggled and grappled with this all year, looking for my own box limits in worshipping God. After all, who best to revere than Jesus? I have found many spots where I needed to expand and look at several boxes.


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I want to encourage you to consider, as you also haul the Christmas decorations in boxes through the house, what your worship boxes are. Will you join me in expanding horizons?

An Advent prayer from Common Prayers:
Give us ears to hear, O God, 
and eyes to watch, 
that we may know your presence in our midst 
during this holy season of joy 
as we anticipate the coming of Jesus Christ. Amen.