Tuesday, June 7, 2011

One True Thing: Worship

This week is vacation time for the Hollenbach clan, so we invited friends to stay in our home and we hit the road: 13 states in 10 days (3,000 miles!). So this week is retro-post “One True Thing Week,” in which I share previous posts about the truest things I know. Today: Worship.

From September, 2010: Worship in the Midst of Doubt

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
  (Matthew 28: 16-17)

Why doesn’t everyone include verses 16 and 17 in the “Great Commission?” I suspect because these two verses include topics rarely discussed in the lives a disciple: obedience, worship, and doubt. Can we worship in the midst of doubt?

Imagine the scene around the resurrected Jesus: his best friends giving him worship in a private setting, yet in some minds and hearts there was still doubt. Yet their doubt did not disqualify them. He still received them, and he gave the “Great Commission.”

Doubt is a solitary struggle. Most expressions of worship are outward: we sing, kneel, pray, dance, bow, read, listen, and fellowship. Others see our actions, but this passage reminds us Jesus knows our hearts and thoughts as well. What kind of doubts did some of the disciples have? Matthew does not tell us. We are left to speculate: perhaps, “I don’t belong here . . . I denied the Lord . . . Have I gone mad? . . . Is this really Jesus? . . . What will he require of me?” I believe their worship was sincere; so were their doubts.

The doubting disciples had obeyed. They had made their way to Galilee, just as Jesus instructed. Jesus did not turn away the doubters, he received their worship and included them in his mission. Disobedience would have kept them from hearing his voice; doubt did not.

What if worship is giving all of ourselves to God--even the parts that struggle to believe, to trust, to surrender? Perhaps that day the doubters discovered Isaiah’s description of Jesus was true: “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” (Matt. 12:20)

Earlier in his ministry Jesus told his friends, “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” Some people have interpreted "truth" to mean "doctrine," but what if Jesus also meant the truth about ourselves? Here’s a meditation worthy for the week: can I bring my doubts as an act of worship?

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