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.
The star stopped. Its purple haze provided a magical backdrop for the men to see the outline of the humble home. Through the small window they could see a mother gently cradling and kissing a baby. Each of them wondered the same thing. “Could this small child really be the King?” After following the star for so long, it had finally rested above this child. They looked at each other in disbelief. Despite the absurdity of the moment, each of them got down on their knees in the dirt and bowed down. The cares of the life they had left weeks earlier escaped their minds. Their jewel encrusted jackets did not seem so precious anymore. Though their stomachs were empty, their hearts felt full. The child’s father had been working outside and happened to see this strange scene. They told him of their journey and their hope to see the king of the Jews. After being invited inside, they opened their treasures and presented the baby with gifts of gold, incense and myrrh. The three noble men intentionally worshipped a baby.
Fast forward two thousand years…
As we sang the final words of the second stanza of How Great Thou Art, I wondered to myself, “What am I going to make for lunch when we get home? Will Noah take his nap or refuse one? Will I be able to have some time alone after church?”
In the presence of such a great God, how is my mind able to think such lazy thoughts?
How can I sing the words to such a magnificent and powerful hymn without thinking about Him? I was ashamed and I resolved to devoutly worship the Lord once again. Within twenty minutes my mind had wandered far from my Savior’s feet. This time I was thinking about a button that kept popping open on my blouse. Once more I had moved from a spiritual posture of devout worship to a spiritual couch potato.
I wondered to myself, “Do I truly have Christ in me? Is everyone else in the congregation behaving the same way in their minds? How does God feel? Is He grieved? Is He sad? What would our congregation’s worship experience be like if each one of us worshipped Him with all our minds, hearts and strength at the same time?”
I see in stark comparison the difference between myself and the Magi. I was able to get to church in under a half an hour yet my mind was too tired to focus on worship. I bathed and ate a nourishing meal, yet for some reason my heart felt a bit empty. My choice of which “precious” dress to wear to church was a bit too important to me this morning. I struggled to worship Him intentionally.
I am encouraged as I am reminded of how the Holy Spirit has transformed my life. He will continue to help me and the church grow in our worship of Him. He will do this by
helping us grasp how wide and long and deep and high His love for us is. When I truly grasp this, I will hardly be thinking of food, naps and alone time. The Word will be my food. My mind will be alert to the sacrificial love of the Lord and I will want to be in His presence fully engaged. I am reminded by Stuart K. Hine’s hymn that I can look forward to a perfect worship in the future:
When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
and there proclaim, my God, how great thou art.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
how great thou art, how great thou art!
Lord, we pray for the ability to grasp who you truly are and to rejoice in that.
May our joy burst forth in humble and intentional worship. We look forward to the day when we will worship you perfectly in spirit and in truth.
I love this article. I am really big about getting into a state of worship and getting in the spirit TO worship. The article spoke to me in that sometimes I often find MY mind wondering. I also look forward to the day when I can worship in spirit and in truth. Amen. Thank you for this look into worship. Nice article.