from my notebook

My head is full of thoughts, and I have to write them down.

The Dangerous Act of Worship

From the Forward of the book by Mark Labberton – Nobody ever went up to Jesus after his blistering warning about religious hypocrisy and shook his hand and said, “Thanks, rabbi. That was a nice talk.” Nobody went up to Moses after the thunder, lightning and loud trumpet blast at the foot of Mount Sinai and said, “How come we’re using trumpets now? What happened to Miriam and that tambourine song we used to sing crossing the Red Sea? I liked that song—it was peppy. This thunder and trumpet stuff is too heavy.” Nobody came up to Solomon after the ark had been brought to the temple when it was surrounded by the cloud of glory and said, “You know, this cloud of glory is keeping the priests from getting their job done. Nobody told us that if we contributed to the capital campaign for the new temple that there would be fog involved.” At least, no one made the comments as far as we know. On the other hand, human nature being what it is, it would be nice to know more details of harebrained responses to worship in the ancient world. There must have been some. Somebody proposed the golden calf. David’s wife felt he went a little Pentecostal in his liturgical dancing. But the general sense that occurs in the writings of Scripture is that when God shows up, people get blown away. They fall to the ground, they hide their face, they get radiant like light bulbs, they beg for mercy: “Away from me, Lord, I am a sinful man.” They “stayed at a distance and said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen, but do not have God speak to us or we will die.’”John Ortberg, Teaching Pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church


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