One morning on my way to work, I was stunned by a beautiful sunrise. The Eastern sky was painted with the most glorious colors- beyond description really. When I turned onto one stretch of the highway, the view was almost surreal- the sky all in pinks, corals, golds, and lavender, the shadows of trees against that backdrop, with just a hint of fog rising off the field. I started to slow down to find a perfect spot to pull off and take a picture. And then it “dawned” on me (see what I did there)…how can I recreate something that our Creator has already made. A cell phone photo just would not do it justice. No, the only suitable response, I realized, was using that very moment as an opportunity to “Glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
Somehow the one thing that God wants us to do the most for Him-reverent worship- just isn’t enough for us.
God gives us those moments, I think, because He loves us. Because He wants to remind us that He is right here with us. Because He wants to show us His power and glory in His creation. Because He wants to give us moments of pure praise and worship so that we will remember…everything is always ALL about HIM.
See, when it comes to those moments when we truly do encounter God, our best response is silence. Sometimes I watch people in different worship services hopping around, waving their hands in the air, and because I have such a really inappropriate sense of humor, in my head I equate that to little kids trying to get the teacher’s attention.
“Look, God, what I am doing for you! Can you hear this song I’m singing? Let me turn it up a little louder so you won’t miss this cool thing I’m about to do on my instrument.”
“Look God, here I am! No, not over there, right HERE.” <as the hands pop into the air and wave all around>
And God, in all His patience might respond, “Yes, I hear you; I see you. I know you’re there. I know all about you. But, do you see Me? Do you really, really know Me?”
Throughout Scripture, just as we are told to sing and play and give and serve, we are told to be silent before our God. Be still. Be reverent. We know Him more when we listen to Him, but we can’t really listen if we never, ever, shut up.
Over the past few weeks as I’ve stepped back to get a new outlook on some things, I’ve been rather disappointed to see the ways so many churches are competing with God. There is so much of what really only amounts to hype that we church people use to try to woo people through our doors. With good intentions we do these “promotions,” and “events.” We want our churches to appeal to a broad spectrum of population groups, because we want people to come to faith in Christ.
But we have to be very careful that we don’t compete with those “sunrise” encounters; that we don’t put such a shiny and glittery show together each week that blinds people with our spotlights and special effects, that deafens them with our loud music, so that all they hear and see is us, and not Jesus. Because what really draws people to Jesus is not our events, promotions, or free donuts and coffee. No, what draws people to Him, is Him. Jesus said, “…so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15)
Don’t get in the way of the sunrise, and don’t try to recreate it. God doesn’t need our special effects- He has His own, and they are much better!