Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
Psalm 48 (NRSV)
Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,
is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
the city of the great King.
Within its citadels God
has shown himself a sure defense.
Then the kings assembled,
they came on together.
As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
they were in panic, they took to flight;
trembling took hold of them there,
pains as of a woman in labor,
as when an east wind shatters
the ships of Tarshish.
As we have heard, so have we seen
in the city of the LORD of hosts,
in the city of our God,
which God establishes forever. Selah
We ponder your steadfast love, O God,
in the midst of your temple.
Your name, O God, like your praise,
reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with victory.
Let Mount Zion be glad,
let the towns of Judah rejoice
because of your judgments.
Walk about Zion, go all around it,
count its towers,
consider well its ramparts;
go through its citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
He will be our guide forever.
Wouldn’t it be something if the pastor had as much trouble reeling us in from our pondering of God’s steadfast love as she or he does trying to get us to stop shaking hands and chatting under the guise of “spreading the peace?” It’s challenging to convince an entire congregation to stop thinking random thoughts and encourage them all to focus energy on the adoration and awe of God in one stretch of time. But we must be capable of such worship—surely God is worth it! And we must continually return to worship God, that we may encourage the next generation’s praise.
My husband used to sing in a barbershop quartet. After one concert we attended, people gathered in giddy foursomes all over the parking lot, singing notes—pinging—they called it. When they all hit just the right spot, it sounded truly like one person. Four voices magically became one for a few moments. Have you ever experienced something similar in worship, when all energies are so focused upon God that everyone loses sight of their separateness for a bit? This is God, our God forever and ever!
God, lead us in our next corporate worship that we might see larger and larger glimpses of ourselves as one body in Christ. Help us lay down our individual thoughts and join willingly with each other as we worship you. Help us identify what it is that keeps us from giving ourselves fully to the experience of awe and praise we know in our hearts. Give us the courage and strength to work on that part of ourselves so that we might surrender before you joyously. Amen.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!