Since yesterday when I wrote about the shortcomings of my cat in deference to me and how they reflected my shortcomings in deference to God, I have been unable to let go of the comparisons.
This morning I have been reflecting about Buster’s purring. When I first brought him home from the shelter he would purr with joy and abandon. My daughter could hear him purring when we talked on the phone. But as he grew older and cooler and very much the “it” cat, that joyous purring settled down to an almost soundless vibration. I know that he purrs, he can feel the vibrations in his body when I pat him, but I really miss the soothing sound of the rumble. I miss the “I love you-ness” of the purr. I feel as if the bloom is gone from our relationship.
Then I started wondering about my relationship with God. Have I stopped praising him and thanking him with the joy and abandon of our early days?
I have a friend who says that all young lovers and new Christians should be locked up for six months. We know what she means right. Who wants to be confronted by all that gushy love and pda’s? Who wants to hear all about Jesus every time someone walks in a room? Those new Christians with their love for God overflowing in their words and actions make us uncomfortable. So it is such a relief when in time they start calming down. They no longer talk about Jesus all the time. They start conforming to the societal norms of our congregation or denomination. But is that really the right thing?
I am a minister in the Presbyterian Church, and I sometimes wonder what it would take to get the people to leap from their back pew and belt forth in song, never mind shout “hallelujah”. It’s not my intention to malign the congregation after all they are behaving, as they have been taught, with all due respect and soberness before God. But what about the joy of the Lord?
I know that in my own life there have been those seasons where I have enthusiastically embraced my walk with God. I have prayed with dedication. I have sung hymns while driving. I have clapped along with a particularly peppy hymn. I have thanked and praised God regularly and often.
A little over a month ago we had a marvelous choir participating in worship. The music was joyous and uplifting and I wanted to clap…. but what would the people think, so instead I tapped my toe, and tapped my fingers on my knee. Later I commented that the music was so good we should have been clapping, and people thought I meant applaud.
Yes I am rambling somewhat here. This of course is more than just a worship problem, this is a heart problem. I have grown comfortable in my relationship with God. I take him for granted. I forget that God is powerful, frightening, strong. I no longer stand before him in awe for his great power in creation and his even greater power in redemption.
I forget that God wants me to worship him fully and with joy and abandon. I forget that he doesn’t want lukewarm worship. If I am unhappy with Buster’s silent purr, then how unhappy is God with my lackluster praise.
It is time for me to recapture the joy of my earlier days and to remember to praise and thank God…..long, loud and often. For he is worthy. The Lamb is worthy…..
The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning,
It’s time to sing Your song again.
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me,
Let me be singing when the evening comes.
Bless the Lord O my soul, O my soul
Worship Hios holy name.
Sing like never before, O my soul;
I’ll worship Your holy name. ~ Matt Redman, from Psalm 103