Sunday, August 30, 2009

Inspiration borrowed from Eugene Peterson

Blogger's note: We took the Toothpick (6'1" in height ... weight between 125 and 130 ... and he never stops eating) to move in at college this past week. Wednesday evening's rehearsals were covered for me by others. This was the best I could do with the time crunch.

I’ve been reading Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction recently. You may know Peterson as the source of the scripture paraphrase known as The Message. The first edition of this book came out in 1980. In 2000 he set out to revise it to bring it a little more up-to-date in light of the huge changes that took place in those two decades. He was surprised at how few things of substance he found it necessary to change.

Since I’m scrambling for all I’m worth to get a week’s worth of work done in two days before we take the Toothpick off to college, I hope you won’t think I’m lazy for just sharing with you a few quotes that I have found particularly insightful.

In worship, though we have come from different places and out of various conditions, we are demonstrably after the same things, saying the same things, doing the same things. With all our differing levels of intelligence and wealth, background and language, rivalries and resentments, still in worship we are gathered into a single whole. Outer quarrels and misunderstandings and differences pale into insignificance as the inner unity of what God builds into the act of worship is demonstrated. (p. 32)

I have put great emphasis on the fact that Christians worship because they want to, not because they are forced to. But I have never said that we worship because we feel like it. Feelings are great liars. If Christians worshiped only when they felt like it, there would be precious little worship. Feelings are important in many areas but completely unreliable in matters of faith. Paul Scherer is laconic: “The Bible wastes very little time on the way we feel.”(p. 54)

Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God – it whets our appetite. Our need for God is not taken care of by engaging in worship – it deepens. It overflows the hour and permeates the week. The need is expressed in a desire for peace and security. Our everyday needs are changed by the act of worship. We are no longer living from hand to mouth, greedily scrambling through the human rat race to make the best we can out of a mean existence. (p. 56)

That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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