The Worshipful Life

The Worshipful Life

The Good Old Days are never as good as we imagined.

As time goes on,

we embellish the narrative to focus more intently on the blessings,

forgetting that there is struggle that came with that blessing.

The children of Israel did this.

In our reading from this past Sunday,

we see that they are under the leadership of a new regime.

Gone is the memory of Joseph and the favored status for the Children of Israel. Now they would experience a people that felt threatened by them,

who would subject them to harsh conditions

and who would order the killing of their newborn sons.

So it is interesting, that when they found themselves in the desert wandering,

they wondered to themselves why they had been taken to the wilderness

(where, by the way, they were provided for by God)..

They said, en masse, to Moses and Aaron,  

“If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Exodus 16

The nerve!

Egypt better than the wilderness?

What were they thinking?

They were remembering fondly a day long gone by.

And the church does this sometimes too.

We focus on who we were and not on who we are.

The world has changed.

The Church has changed too.

Which is not a bad thing.

Change is a part of the redemptive process.

While there is much about the last 50 or so years that the Church has been a blessing in this world, there are many moments that have been a bit cringe worthy.

Child abuse at the hands of leaders.

Money scandals.

Linking ourselves up with the politics and corruption of the culture.

Becoming less welcoming and losing our ear for the “others” of society.

Televangelists and the money taken.


No thank you.

But we hear often that it was better 50 years ago.

It seems we are not so different than those

whose lives are portrayed in the stories of the Old Testament.

As I said on Sunday, the way “out” of this is to know God and know ourselves.

Arguably, the way we truly know ourselves is by knowing God.

And so, then, we should understand how we come to know God.

The reading from Romans chapter 12 speaks about our coming to know God.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God– what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

The encouragement from Paul here is to disconnect from the pull of the culture which is looking to shape and mold you into something that you were never meant to be.




Lacking depth.

Consumed by the present.

Awaiting the next catastrophe.

Immersed in the digital world.



Unable to be in community.

The world will always push in a way that is counter to God’s way’s.

The prophet Isaiah points this out,

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways,” Isaiah 55:8

So, we are called to something different.

To be transformed.


And like I said on Sunday, this change is a metamorphous.

Like a caterpillar to a butterfly.

A complete change.

Unlike what we were before.

And it is God Who does this.

The change bit.

And so, our response is to worship.

Which is how Paul begins Romans 12,

“[You are] to present your bodies as a living sacrifice,

holy and acceptable to God,

which is your spiritual worship.”

This is how we get to know God

Many times when we think of worship,

we think of Sunday mornings.

Or prayer services.

But we are called to worship in spirit.

With our lives.

Our bodies as a manifested sacrifice to the God we serve.

This was the correction from Jesus to the Woman at the Well,

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

This gets seen in things like serving the poor.

Visiting orphans and widows.

Bearing one another’s burdens.

Encouraging one another.

Considering others better than ourselves.

Being patient with one another.

Forgiving one another.

Loving one another.

Our bodies as a sacrifice of love to others on behalf of God.

Who, for our sakes, sent Jesus so that we might be redeemed.

And placed in a community of love to flourish.

And thrive.

And live.




  1. Matt Reynolds

    Brad’s sermon mentioned “tyranny of the urgent” in our world. That has been sitting in my heart all week.

  2. Summer Green

    I’m encouraged by the thought that God is changing me in a way that is reflected in metamorphosis. I feel the pangs of this slow, mysterious and often hidden process. This helps me to resist the urge to “get out of here” when it really gets uncomfortable. Perhaps with holy solidarity, the cocooned caterpillar and I will choose to worship God together as our response to the often tight spaces of spiritual transformation.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *