Going Through the Motions
I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre. (Psalms 43:4)
My mouth will speak wisdom, the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.(Psalms 49:3-40)
For years now I have been using the 365 One Word commitment instead of making New Year’s resolutions and this year I adopted the word mindful. I was led to mindful after spending 2018 trying to be bold. Bold led me to say yes to things I wouldn’t normally commit to and to step out of my comfort zone more often than I usually would. But, by the end of the year I was finding myself going through the motions in my relationships, worship, work, and life. I was doing things but I was checked out mentally and emotionally. I wasn’t truly present in the moment. It was as if I was driving a familiar road reaching my destination but not really knowing how I got there.
In late December, God began laying several words on my heart -balance, present, engaged and mindful. Like an ice cube at the bottom of a glass of water, mindful began rising to the top of my word list. It surfaced to the top partially because I could empower other words by putting mindful in front of them. Mindfully present. Mindful running. Mindful study. Mindful eating. Mindful worship.
Mindful worship. There are so many times I have sat in attendance at church but didn’t truly worship. I wish I could say it only happened once or twice a month, but I would be lying. Months, or maybe even years, have passed with me being physically present in worship but not mindfully engaged.
In our scripture passages today the Psalmist challenges us to be mindfully present in our worship. Tucked in these verses are some guidelines for how to have mindful worship with God.
First, we are to go (Psalms 43:4). Our modern day altar of God is church. Just as the Israelites had to go to the Temple to worship at the altar of God, we need to go to church.
Second, we are to praise God in song (Psalms 43:4, 49:4). Music is the highway to our souls. It is the access point that opens our heart to hear the Lord. Let the words of the songs and the sound of the music move your heart to mindful remembrance of God’s goodness to you this week (Psalms 43:4, 45:17).
Thirdly, we are to listen (Psalms 49:3). Listen to the wisdom of the scripture. Incline your heart to what God wants you to hear from the scripture. Worship is not about the one delivering the message, it is about the Message.
Lastly, we are to share (Psalms 49:3). Use the truths God teaches you to strengthen someone else. Speak up in a small group Bible study and share your insights. Too shy to share? Write a card and share a verse. Drop a note and offer a prayer. Give a hug and whisper a word of encouragement.
When we go the altar of God this week, let’s purpose in our hearts to engage in mindful worship
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.