Thursday, January 8, 2015

Watch - Listen - Worship

This week we celebrate the holy day of Epiphany - a time when the Church remembers the coming of the Magi to visit the Christ child.

I have been thinking a lot about what those wise guys did, and I keep coming back to three simple words:

Watch - Listen - Worship

When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. (Matthew 2:10 CEB)

This verse has gotten lots of mileage over the years.  What's interesting to me is that it actually comes after they had already seen the star earlier, so this isn't their first sighting.  They have already "seen it in the East" and have talked with Herod about it to figure out where they might find Jesus.  As they continue their trek, they once again see it and are filled with joy.  They have been watching.  They contiunued to watch.  It was a part of the very make up of their lives.  

What if I was that attentive to watching for God's sings and wonders?  Am I watching for the harbingers He is sending my way to alert me of His work - His Kingdom coming and breaking in?  Or am I watching another episode of reality TV?

I think we live in a culture that watches.  The question is, what are we watching?

Then Herod secretly called for the magi and found out from them the time when the star had first appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search carefully for the child. When you’ve found him, report to me so that I too may go and honor him." When they heard the king, they went.... (Matthew 2:7-9a CEB)

I find it fascinating that these wise people take the advice of an evil despot.  But somehow they were in-tune enough with what God was doing that they recognized God's directions, even when it came from an unlikely source!  Maybe since they were outside the normal flow and pattern of the ways in which God was supposed to speak and act it was easier for them to recognize it.

I think part of my problem, and part of the struggle in the life of the instituional curch today, is that we think a word from the Lord can only come from certain sources.  People, places, circumstances, books, that are "authorized" or holy in some way.  Maybe I need to think more like an outsider so I can hear what it is God is trying to communicate, through whatever avenues He may choose to use?

I think we live in a culture that listens to the "right" sources.  The question is, are we listening to God's message no matter where it originates?

They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11 CEB)

Ahh the gifts.  So much attention has been given to the gifts.  After all, they are pretty extravagant, and there is a lot of meaning behind them.  But has our attention to the tangible gifts overlooked the biggest gift?  

These foreign star-watchers fell on their knees in worship!

The original word used here to describe this act is a hybrid of two words mashed together: toward and to kiss.  Literally, to move toward and kiss the ground.  A true gift of worship and reverence.

Again, so much of our lives tend to be focused on the tangible that I wonder if we actually miss the greatest gift of all - our ability to move toward and kiss the ground in front of our Lord?  I have the ability everyday, regardless of what I may have in my hands, to live my life as an act of worship to my King!  So why do I get so focused on that stuff in my hands?

We live in a culture that loves to focus on the tangible gifts.  The question is, am I willing to shift my focus to the intangible gift?

Watch - Listen - Worship

I wonder what 2015 might bring if that was my three-fold focus this year?