The interesting thing about writing is that I can’t fundamentally know where you are right now as you take the time to read this article. I don’t know what your situation is, what part of the world you are in, or what time of day it is that you will be reading. That’s the wonderful thing about the nature of written word. We can come to it when we have the opportunity. When it suits us we can participate. Reading can be very convenient in our fast paced, on demand, artisan, and individually crafted modern world. We get to make the choice about how and when we engage. It’s up to us to choose.
Now some choices are small and inconsequential (what to wear, what to eat) but others are of more weighty importance. Some of our choices are life and death. And like everyone else we have the one most critical choice: to either worship God and give our lives to following Him, or keep going on our own way.
In recent news one ship kept going its own way, and the results were disastrous. On March 10th of this year a cruise ship by the name of Star Princess passed by a Panamanian fishing boat. The engines of this small fishing boat had gone dead, and the young and inexperienced crew of three couldn’t get it started. They had been adrift in the ocean for 15 days, and saw the cruise ship pass by. They waved frantically with the last of their energy for a response from the ship. Three passengers who had been bird watching saw the stranded boat and notified the crew. But something happened, and the cruise ship passed on by. As a result two of the three fishermen died, and the boat was finally found after being adrift for 28 days. In the aftermath, investigations are underway. This is a tragic ordeal, and hopefully things are hopefully being sorted out in such a way that it never happens again, and if there is negligence on the part of any party, that it is corrected.
It makes me wonder of the present tragedy that our church is facing. We live in Canada: a blessed and prosperous country. Yet there are people every day that we pass by. We have the light of Christ, and the news of salvation to bring to a lost and hopeless world. But do we care about sharing our faith? Connected to this, there are the poor in this world that scripture says we have a responsibility to take care of (Mat 25:40). I hope that we are not a church that goes our own way, or makes our choices based on the reality of our own selfish pursuits or convenience. I also hope that we don’t find our motivation for ministry using tools of guilt, fear, law or obligation. It’s important that we use God’s word to build our relationships. We can know and love God, and fully understand the glory of who He is.
John, on the island of Patmos saw the reality of God’s kingdom as of heaven opened up to him. He saw the magnificence of heaven explode around his senses as the angels and elders worshiped:
“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.”
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”
(Revelations 4.8,11 NIV)
This kind of display helps us to understand that God is the center of the universe. We are not.
Yes we have a freedom of choice. The problem is that as broken and finite beings, it is also exceedingly difficult to make the right choice. When it is up to us to choose, we sometimes subtly begin to shift our thinking until the purpose of our choice is us, and that somehow pleasing ourselves is our entitled right. This is simply not true. As followers of Christ we are simply not the center.
I don’t know specifically where you are at on planet earth at this given moment as you read this, but take a look again at what true reality of this world is. We know that Christ is in control, and He is high and exalted. As we think about the vision of John, I hope that we see the hope and glory of Christ, and truly want nothing more than to be a part of that worship, and to call others to join in. Let us love our God knowing that there is nothing greater than to choose him. Out of that let us be loved by him, and by that love share a heart of compassion for the world around us.
Associate Pastor of Music & Arts