“I hope the worship’s good today. I hate it when we sing those songs I don’t know or they’re too high. And I get distracted by the clothes some of the singers wear. Oh, and I hope they do a video. I love those. Unless they’re totally cheese. Who’s preaching? Last week it was that guy that talked real fast and I don’t even remember what it was about. Wonder if we should sit upstairs or down. Where will the crying baby be this week?”
Do these thoughts sound eerily familiar? Maybe on the drive to church a few have run through your mind. After dressing, getting the family ready, loading the dishwasher, letting the dog out/in and heading out the door for worship, your brain may be in overdrive. You’re on your way to worship. To...worship.
The other day, I felt I needed to spend some time in Psalms. It’s been a while since I read some of those. I get bogged down when I hit the ones that focus on enemies chasing and the depression of the writer dwelling in the pit. Now, there have been times when those psalms speak to me and I’m thankful for them, but I also like to read praises about God and his providing for us. So, I grabbed a Bible a friend had given me. It’s a version I’m not familiar with: The New Century Version by Thomas Nelson. I flipped through to the first psalm that opened up. Psalm 48. It begins with accolades about God’s city, his Mount, his power. Great stuff. Reading the first eight verses makes you feel like that kid who boasts “This is my Dad!” Yeah, this is my God! So, I’m reading along when I get to verse 9:
“God, we come into your Temple, to think about your love. ”
We come into your temple. Hmm...my first thought is my church. Of course, as a follower of Christ, I’m well aware of the scriptures about the temple. (My body’s a temple for the Holy Spirit. Christ is the cornerstone.) But, if I’m thinking of a physical place where I go to worship, I think of my church. The sanctuary I rush into. Within YOUR temple, O God. Not the temple where the worship team rules, or the videographer, or even the speaker. God’s temple.
To think about. Not sing, not clap, not shake hands, not be entertained. Thinking. It means really pondering something. Not just your quick thought. You have to invest some time on that one. Chew it over. Another version I looked up uses the word meditate. That word seems to have a stop sign attached to it. I don’t meditate when I’m running or doing. I have to get quiet, be still, and am usually alone when I meditate. But, even in a Sunday morning crowd, I can spend some time thinking about what I’m saying or hearing. Hello? What is the purpose for being there, anyway?
Your love. I know there have been times at church where I’ve been able to wrap my thoughts around his love. Communion is designed for that - when I’m focused. Sometimes, while singing, I can block out distractions and offer him praise. Occasionally, a time is built into the service for reflection. And, if you tear apart most messages, they’re all about how much God loves us. Four letters, little word, unfathomable concept.
A small verse tucked inside a great psalm is packed with some meaty stuff for me to think about today. And on Sunday. When I enter HIS temple to THINK about HIS LOVE.