As I read Luke 1 this morning, I asked God what it was that I need to see. What did He want to teach me? I mulled over the verses about the circumstances surrounding the birth of John the Baptist – the same verses I have read so many times before. What new insight could be gained from the birth of the man that cried “REPENT!” again and again.
As I prayed my ADOS (Attention Deficit, Ohhh Shiney!) kicked in and I thought my mind began to wander. I started thinking about worship and how we prepare ourselves for worship in particular. Then I was reminded of Elizabeth’s response to Mary when she came to visit. “41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!'”
When Mary enters the room, John the Baptist, still in the womb, leaps for joy! What happens when we approach the throne of God? What is our response when we come before His Holy presence? Do we come to Him with anticipation and excitement? Are we honored and humbled to stand before Him? Do we come to church on Sunday expecting to meet Him here? Or are we content to live in our complacency and punch the time clock every Sunday so that we can move on with life?
Unfortunately, as life long church goers, we fail to live in awe of God. We have become callous to the whole church experience. Ryan, a good friend of mine, was recently talking about how amazed he was by the iPad. He is awed by such technology, as am I. Yet, most of the students I work with think we’re both crazy. There is no mystery and awe left in it. It is what they expect. They don’t know what life was like without the internet, cell phones, and texting. To reveal my age, I remember when I was in high school and my dad hooked our home computer up to the public library card catalog – that was awesome! Not so I could look up books, but the concept fascinated me.
In the same way, many of us don’t know what life is like without Christ. We don’t really remember because we have grown up in the church. We may understand what He saved us from eternally – Hell, but we don’t comprehend it and we sure don’t understand what He saved us from here on earth. I know others who have come from the wrong side of the tracks and seen the world and all it’s “offerings” – who now stand amazed in the presence of God because they have lived life without Him and know the “hell” He has saved them from here on earth.
On the flip side, right now, in our minds, hell, for all eternity, – although real – is merely a concept because we have never personally experienced it and thus are incapable of fully grasping the enormity of it. If we did, and we truly believed what we say we believe, we would all live a whole lot differently.
Have we as a church taken the mystery and awe out of God? Has our worship become so mundane and routine that we just punch the clock every Sunday without expectation or exception? When will we be humbled before a Holy and Majestic God that created the universe and all that is within it? What would your life be like without Christ? I guarantee you don’t want to know. I dare you to come to church Sunday expecting to meet God. If you do, you will leap like John the Baptist because you will be awed in His presence.