by Lori Elliott Elbert
October 23, 2006
When I was a youth, one of the common phrases we threw around was, "You need a reality check." What this meant was that the person we were talking to had an unrealistic view of something. I must admit we were usually not being kind when we used the phrase. Some of you are probably thinking, "that's mildly interesting but what does it have to do with worship?"
Every day we are bombarded with the world's view of
reality. We are told that happiness lies in acquiring wealth and admiration of others. It is whispered in our ears that gratifying physical appetites is the only way to fulfillment. We are taught that love and acceptance means never holding people to any kind of moral standard. We are expected to believe that there is no absolute truth about anything. We have learned it is acceptable for public figures, whether they are movie stars, athletes, or politicians, to behave in unethical or immoral ways. We do not very often stop and look at the world's view of reality, but when we do it is easy to see that it is a skewed view.
When we come into worship every week we are essentially getting a reality check. We come into the presence of God and in the light of God's holiness and love we are able to see what is truly real. We then go from worship to hold up God's true reality to world.
The reality is God is the creator who spoke and created everything there is out of nothing.
The reality is God created us, male and female, and placed in each of us the Imago Dei, the image of God, which gives every person regardless of gender, race, or socio-economic standing an inherent dignity and value.
The reality is God loved His creation so much He was willing to live among us and die as a criminal in order to reconcile us to Himself.
The reality is all the things this world values, wealth, power, prestige, physical attractiveness, is passing away.
The reality is what will have eternal significance will be things done for the Kingdom of God: lost and hurting souls love and nurtured and introduced to Christ, children taught about God, provisions made for widows and orphans, Christians taking up our own cross and following Christ.
Listen to what the apostle John says in 1 John 2:15-17(NEB): Do not set your hearts on the godless world or anything in it. Anyone who loves the world is a stranger to the Father's love, Everything the world affords, all that panders to the appetites or entices the eyes, all the glamour of its life, springs not from the Father but from the godless world. And that world is passing away with all its allurements, but he who does God's will stands forevermore.
It is difficult for us to grasp that the next bonus check or promotion at work is in many ways less real and less valuable than the invisible realities of God's kingdom. Each week in worship, we come together to have our realities realigned with God. Each week we also have our eyes opened a little more to see God's realities more clearly. Sunday after Sunday these realities are worked into our everyday lives so that we carry God's realities out into the world.
May our focus as individual believers and as the body of Christ be more and more on the eternal realities of Christ and His Kingdom.