God longs for fellowship with us. He looks for a cooperative relationship with us. As we respond to His desire for fellowship He increases our spiritual hunger for more. The way for us to draw closer to the Lord is through worship. Through worship we reveal the nature of our commitment to Him. Commitment involves sacrifice. "The sacrifice You desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God." (Psalm 51:17 - NLT)
At the Washington Crossing United Methodist Church we have made a yearly commitment to dedicate the evenings of the last week of July to the Lord. During that time we remember how He visited us in 1994 and changed everything that we did. His sweet Spirit led us to amend our priorities so that the only thing that seemed important was worshiping Him. We connected with Him in a deeper way and realized the importance of setting aside time for Him. Last week that is what we did.
In John 4 we read how Jesus had a conversation at Jacob's well with a Samaritan woman. He told her, "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks." (John 4:23) I was reminded of this verse as we worshiped with one another at The Crossing last week. Several times we sang the song, "Worthy of It All" by David Brymer. The song tells about heavenly worship: "All the saints and angels, bow before Your throne. All the elders cast their crowns before the Lamb of God and sing. You are worthy of it all..." 24-7 all the saints, angels and elders worship around the throne of God, and yet He seeks true worshipers on earth. He would leave the throngs of heaven for the sacrificial worship of earth.
The worship that took place at The Crossing did have a sacrificial element to it. We made worshiping the Lord each evening a priority. But the most fragrant offering of all was offered up at The Crossing on Friday morning. A dear couple from our Church invited us to share in their sorrow of the death of their new baby girl a few hours before delivery. They gave her a name that means abundant life, and they acknowledged that in heaven alone will she experience the truth of her name. They led us in songs declaring their trust in the unfailing love of God. A true sacrifice of praise was offered to Him through a veil of tears.
The words of the songs that our brave and committed couple had us sing with them let us know—along with the hosts of heaven—of their steadfast belief in the goodness of God in the midst of tragedy. The offering that was made to the Lord declared these truths: "I believe in You; I believe in You. You're the God of miracles. The God who was and is to come, the power of the Risen One. The God who brings the dead to life; You're the God of miracles!" and "It is well; it is well with my soul." and "How great Thou art; how great Thou art!" Their spirits rose above their souls to present the perfect offering; the kind that the Lord seeks.
The worship that takes place in heaven does so in a perfect environment where there is no sorrow or tears. It pales in comparison to the sacrificial worship that took place on Friday morning. The Lord received the sacrificial offering, and His Spirit came to dwell with us. In the midst of pain and suffering and trials, may we all offer unto the Lord the pure worship that He desires—sacrificial worship in spirit and truth!
Joan E. Mathias