Archive for the ‘worship’ Category

Radical Inversion

April 20, 2006

Okay, so here’s a thought for the day. If we learn nothing else from the stories of Jesus’ ministry, we learn that Jesus was out to radically reorient the way we think about our religious affections towards God. Case in point: Look at one of the first things he said in his public ministry. In chapter five of Matthew (v.23-24) Jesus said that if you have something unresolved between yourself and a brother you shouldn’t bother bringing an offering to God. You should drop your offering right then and there and go be reconciled with your brother. Wow. If you really stop and think about it, that’s a radical inversion of our priorities. I’d venture to say that even after all these centuries this instruction from Jesus has never really sunk in.

Think about it for a second. What Jesus is saying here is that our relationships with one another are as essential to worship as is our actual offerings to God. While we habitually place our devotion to God on the highest level and relegate our devotion to one another on a (much) lower plane, Jesus inverts that and suggests that you should resolve your issues with those in the church before you should even consider offering your praise and adoration to the Father.

There are dozens of other places where the New Testament gives us the same inversion of priorities, but I just want to soak in this one for a while. There’s something really big being expressed here about our Father. He cares intensely about how His children get along with one another. Jesus said that the world will know that we are children of our Father because of our love for one another. And here we were, all this time, thinking that it was our devotion to God that set us apart. John’s first letter to a church is almost exclusively about this one matter: that our love for God is manifested primarily in our love for one another. If you love your Father, you love his children.

So don’t let anyone tell you that your relationships with your brothers and sisters in the church should be relegated to a place of secondary importance. That’s not how our Father sees it. He will have a house of Love. That is how we will be known. So let’s get to it.