Oh, come on, dogs! It is 3AM! What in the world are you barking at? Indeed, awakened well before dawn serenaded by barking dogs, I got up to see what the heck was going on. Lightening. Thunder. Rain. They usually don’t bark at these things. I never did figure out what the fuss was all about. But I was up.
I brewed some coffee and came upstairs to do my morning reading. I was distracted, my mind racing between various things I need to accomplish today and still wondering why I was up so darn early. As I closed my eyes, trying to settle down to pray, this Scripture came to mind:
Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free Spirit.
(Psalm 51:10-12 KJV)
Over and over I prayed this Scripture, eyes closed, asking God to calm my heart, ease my mind and give me the sense of peace that seemed so elusive. And, you know what? God answered that prayer.
I grew up in a liturgical church. Every Sunday we sang, chanted or spoke the liturgy. What I didn’t realize then was, as we worshipped I was memorizing Scripture! Indeed, the various Orders of Worship laid out for us in the front pages of the hymnal were taken right from Scripture, much of it from the Psalms.
At the time I didn’t appreciate it; I sometimes thought it was boring. But recently, as I’ve read through my Bible and come across familiar passages I recognize from the liturgies of my youth, I have gained a newfound appreciation for the liturgy and how thoughtfully it is presented. And I realize I miss it.
In many churches today, the liturgy is a relic of the past. Worship styles vary greatly, and that’s OK. However, I wonder if abandoning the liturgy in favor of a series of worship songs and forgoing readings from the Old Testament, New Testament and Gospels in favor of a single reading from “today’s text” may reduce Bible literacy amongst believers. I am concerned that the tendency in some churches to exclude corporate Confession and Absolution except during Lent and possibly Advent may be creating a generation of Christians that do not fully grasp the nature and prevalence of sin and therefore do not fully appreciate the magnificent message of the Gospel.
I pray each morning for Christ’s Church. I pray for unity firmly grounded in the Truth of God’s Word. I pray for bold preachers and teachers to deliver the Word in fullness of truth out of genuine love for God and His people. Indeed, as I said earlier worship styles can be different, and that’s OK. But, sometimes, I miss the Order of Worship with which I grew up.
What a crazy morning it’s been. From a chorus of barking dogs at 3AM to a sense of peace at 6 I am ready to take on the day. Perhaps with a nap inserted somewhere…
Soli DEO Gloria!
Image credit: YouVersion Bible App
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