A word that brings to mind so many things, especially in today’s environment. Churches today have had to go to three services, not necessarily because there are too many people to fill the sanctuary, but because there are so many worship styles and they want to accommodate everyone’s musical tastes. So we have early service with only hymns and organs; second service with some hymns and some contemporary and with other musical instruments—not too noisy, mind you. Then for the younger population (which I am decidedly not, but which service I happen to prefer), we have the young worship team and all of the musical instruments. My Mom calls it the “boom-boom” service, and no, she would not attend this one.
We have an East Indianpastor who speaks to our Church on the occasions of the absence of our pastor. Some years ago, when John was very seriously into his mist of dementia, I sat in the congregation, watching John, stone faced, yet seeming to understand what this man was teaching (because as I write in my book, the “Spirit” does not get dementia, and his didn’t), and this pastor, Ben Joseph, was doing a teaching on worship. I was always on the edge of tears and that day was no different. Looking around at other couples in the room, husbands with arms around their wives, nudging each other in that secret little way that husbands and wives share private jokes, I wanted my John back.
Did you know that the first time the word “worship” is used is in Genesis 22. It doesn’t fit here. My heart rebels against the word “worship” following immediately after God tells Abraham “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance …
We will worship and then we will come back to you
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife".
Abraham called this unbelievable event “worship!”
Job, likely a contemporary of Abraham’s or even a recent ancestor, does a similar thing after having everything he owns and all of his children wiped out what does he do? He “worships!”
Job 1:13-21 says"While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head.
Then he fell to the ground and worshipped
and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing".
Sitting in this particular sermon, I wrote frantic notes, grasping at every word—I wanted to have this teaching permeate every part of me—I wanted to remember it later, when the sorrow threatened to engulf me. I wanted to make laying down my Isaac an act of worship!
For the past year and a half I have been asked once again to lay an Isaac down. I can’t say that I have been Job-like, not even close. I laid him down, then figured out a way to fix things. When my fixing didn’t fix, I laid him down again, and then discovered just one more way to fix it. I did this, knowing that my heart really wasn’t cooperating with my mind until one day, for some unknown mysterious reason, I laid my Isaac down and I walked away. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t walk away from my love for my Isaac, nor from my intercession for my Isaac, but I left him in the care and keeping of the Shepherd and I walked into the Shepherd’s peace and rest “confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6) and that it is “God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure”(Phil. 2:13)