Two thoughts challenged me, this morning, as I struggled to wake, built a fire, brewed coffee, and began to pray:
First, the recipient’s response to a gift is the surest sign of it’s perceived value. We witnessed responses that ran the gamut this week: from the mildly amused, “that’s nice” to the emotional, heart-felt, “thank you!” After preaching all Advent about the Gift to come, I’m now wondering about my response. Am I barely interested or blown-away-grateful?
Second, worshipping Jesus is a privilege. Sometimes I don’t feel like going to church. Sometimes the weight of spiritual leadership feels extremely heavy. But what I need (though I’m often slow to realize it) is to take my place in our community and to worship. How fortunate am I? “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to me on whom his favor rests.”*
May I respond to the Gift I’ve received by embracing the privilege of worship.
While the world
hurries through these sacred days,
holy scripture is erupting in song.
Isaiah is singing.
The Psalmist is singing.
Mary is singing.
They are moved by the mystery and the magnitude of this moment.
May you slow down and listen well and join their song.
[ inspired by Psalm 96 ]
Magi from the east declare, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
“When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.” (Matthew 2)
Why was Jerusalem disturbed? What had they to lose?
Herod feared for his throne. But the people? Why weren’t they celebrating the arrival of the Deliverer long-awaited, the Savior promised by prophets? Why were they troubled?
Because they had grown comfortable. And they feared the disturbance of their comfort.
John Chrysostom (4th Century) wrote this:
Although troubled, they nevertheless did not try to understand what was happening. They did not follow the wise men or even take any particular notice. To this extent were they both contentious and careless.
Contentious and careless.
They chose annoyance over adoration. Disdain over devotion.
Don’t disrupt the status quo, Jesus. We like it as it is. We prefer bondage to a police state which tells us what to think/buy/feel. Don’t mess with our comfort, Jesus.
Worship is too high a price to pay for freedom.