Thursday, March 20, 2008

Something to think about

Quote from R.C Sproul Jr:

"By God's grace we don't believe most of the cliches that rule our lives. No one actually believes, for instance, that there is no objective right and wrong. Steal their pocketbook, and you will find them swiftly appealing to some transcendent law. Neither do we really believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The most ardent aesthetic relativist does not play the sound of car crashes on their CD player. Neither does anyone actually believe that forms have no meaning, that it is only the heart that matters.

This breezy indifference to form is bolstered in the church by the words of Jesus. When He met the woman at the well and she asked about the proper place of worship, He responded, "But the hour is coming, and now is, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John 4: 23-24). Seems like a slam dunk, doesn't it? Jesus says it doesn't matter what form our worship takes. All that matters is the heart.

But what if forms influence our hearts? Isn't it just possible that you can't fully separate forms and hearts? Consider, for a moment, a wedding. Who among us would be pleased if they were married with vows like this: "Me and you. I won't sleep around on you. I won't leave you until you keel over." How does that compare with "forsaking all others, till death do us part." The formal forms that are a part of our weddings do not make the ceremony sacred. All they do is help us remember that they are sacred.

Which is why it actually matters how we dress when we gather together to worship the living God. It's true enough that God looks on the inside rather than the outside. It is also true that He is apt to see a casual approach to worship if He is looking at the heart of someone dressed casually. Why is it, I wonder, that we are willing to come to worship dressed like it's casual Friday at the office, but we would be unwilling to dress this way, were we to meet the President? Why is it, that we would never dress in jeans and a polo for our wedding, but we would when we come to feast with our Husband on His day? It is because we have listened to the serpent.

I am not arguing that all men everywhere must where an expensive suit when they gather to worship. I'm not suggesting that we ought to sit about our pews mentally doling out grades to those around us, looking down our patrician noses at others. I am suggesting, however, that we ought to come to worship in our best. I'm not suggesting that we do this so that God will take our worship seriously. I am suggesting that we do this so that we will take our worship seriously. I'm not suggesting that worship is only a somber and serious event. It is, like a wedding, a joyful event - a joyful, somber and serious event. The truth is this—spirit is influenced by bodies. And our bodies should reflect our spirits. We are meeting our King. We are meeting our Groom. We are coming into the presence of the living God. If we dress as though this is something important, perhaps we would better understand how important it is. Perhaps we would in turn teach our children the same."

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