Thursday, December 30, 2010

Worship Who?

On coming to the house, they [the Magi] saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Matthew 2:11.

I recall preachers using the 1662 Book of Common Prayer—still in use in my youth—instructing the man to say after exchanging wedding vows: “With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.”

I understood the importance of the “for better, for worse” stuff that went before, but I found “with my body I thee worship,” both erotic and sacrilegious. Erotic because of my hormone driven thinking, but sacrilegious because God demands worship for Him alone. It would take a smooth-tongued cleric to explain that one!

Fortunately the Magi got it right, they worshipped the Christ child. The New Testament restricts legitimate worship to the one God, and includes many instances of worship to Jesus—further testimony to the deity of Christ. As we close the year 2010, we have the privilege of joining the Magi in worship to our living Lord.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Public Performance

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. Matthew 5:14-16.

Here’s a verse to upset the day, especially if you’re not happy performing in public! Whether we like it or not, those of us who take our faith seriously stand out in the crowd. Just like rocks revealed as the tide recedes, so our differences become more noticeable as the culture retreats from Christianity.

Constant reminders to be a light to the world intimidate me. I’m not one to crash parties, and I generally wait for an invitation to share my faith. I wish they came more often. However, two areas of thought give me comfort.

First, serious faith reveals itself in everyday life; people notice the difference without our conscious effort. Frequently, throwaway lines or unconscious comments have a greater effect than a carefully orchestrated speech. Faith shows through the ordinariness of our lives.

Second, I enjoy writing, which provides an outlet for my faith, but gives others the choice to read or not. This way, I don’t intentionally invade others’ space without their permission. Yet the light still shines, not necessarily from a hilltop, but from the confines of my study.

We all have a lamp stand from which to share our light. What is yours?