To say we are in the midst of uncertain economic times is an understatement. A quick look at the news headlines will certainly move a person. It moves some to fear and anxiety, others to depression and methods of escape. It shakes all of us to the core because we realize that there are real people and families behind the headlines. And they aren’t just distant people and families without faces, they are our neighbors, friends, co-workers, classmates, and church members.
It is easy to talk about the hills and valleys of life when you are on the hill, right? It is a much different conversation when you are in the valleys. The valleys are shadowy places full of fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
How are we going to make it through this?
How am I going to provide for my family?
I feel so isolated and alone…God do you hear me?
God are you even there?
As a Christian…I wonder if we truly understand the profound role we play in joining people in places of suffering and pain. I wonder if we truly understand the need to be in the presence of others through their anger and doubt. I wonder if too many times we simply relegate God as the distant third-party who may or may not get involved in the messy affairs of humanity, so we toss our prayers across the great divide hoping that they just might reach him.
Yet we get a very different perspective from Jesus in regards to who we are and where God is.
“a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is Spirit, and his worshipers must worship in Spirit and in truth.”
i have written previously that the word worship in Greek is proskuneo…which means to lie prostrate, face to the ground. One who worships God is one who submits everything he is and everything he has before God who is worthy. It is a sacrificial position. We sacrifice everything we have and everything we are. We become less…and he becomes more in our lives.
And since God is Spirit…we become a vessel through which God flows to bless and heal the world. We are the means through which God extends his love, mercy, justice, peace, healing, and grace into the world. We become a point where God meets people in their doubt, hurt, suffering, heartache, and pain. We walk into those places…we don’t retreat. We are the means through which heaven breaks into this space/time reality and the gates of hell are broken down, as we fulfill the prayer of Jesus when he said, “Your Kingdom come your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
God is anything but a distant third-party in our suffering. He does not leave us alone in our pain to fend for ourselves, rather he ministers and comforts in and through those who worship him. We sacrifice ourselves so that the Spirit of God can speak words of life, healing, and truth into others. Through worship, the Spirit of God breaks out into the world in prayer, in praise, in service putting broken pieces back together.
A world that is in pain and asking questions does not need more religious people…it needs Spirit-filled people. A community that is in doubt doesn’t need gimmicks or cheap tactics to increase weekly attendance…it needs the loving, caring, and compassionate hand of God extending out through people of worship. Our friends and neighbors who have just lost a job and are trying to take care of a family do not need trite responses from superficial people…they need to hear the comforting and assuring voice of the Spirit speaking through humble and selfless servants.
A Spirit-filled church is the means through which God meets and heals a world in suffering and pain.