Posture of Worship

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Palms outstretched in offering,
Bowing low, I meet my king.
In humility, I sing.

In the market, in the square,
Souls surround me. You are there.
Though I move, you hear my prayer.

In the darkness cold and still,
As I sit against my will,
I look up and you fulfill.

Through the music and the word,
Worship serves to undergird.
I receive and I am heard.

May my posture ever be
Tempered by eternity
As I learn to walk with thee.


Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Thanks to Maci for suggesting the title and topic of this poem.

Worship to Write

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Most writing, if not all writing, points to something. A writer works to communicate information, to tell a story, to convey an emotion, or to evoke a response. And while some words stand out as magnificent or beautiful in and of themselves, words possess meanings and point beyond the symbols on a page to ideas, to reality, to truth. Even grammar, the dread of many, serves that end, enhancing and clarifying a writer’s work. Writing, then, acts as an arrow that points beyond itself to something else. We who write don’t want our readers to stop at the wording or formatting on the page; we want them to be led onward to something further up and further in, as Lewis might say.

Christians who write face a challenge, however. The great subject of our writing, even with the reality of his revelation in view, remains ultimately ineffable. His mighty acts in creation are as outskirts and whispers of his power (Job 26:14), and his thoughts and ways are far higher than our own (Isaiah 55:8-9). Our greatest efforts at description fall far short of the fullness of his beauty and holiness and love. We can speak truthfully about God, yet we can never exhaust the words that could be written of him. Scripture thus aptly speaks of the fear of the LORD, the natural response to a proper view of God in his glory. And while God has revealed himself perfectly in Christ, he invites us into an inexhaustible pursuit of knowing him better. God is higher, greater, holier, more lovely, more beautiful, and more glorious than the heights of our understanding can perceive or describe.

Writing, then, becomes an act of worship, done for the glory of God in the name of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17). We who know God in Christ have tasted and seen the goodness of the LORD and have been changed. We are new creations, ambassadors pursuing the reconciliation of sinners and the Savior (2 Corinthians 5:16-21). We are living sacrifices seeking deeper intimacy with the LORD. And while we may never be able to fully capture the beauty or the glory of God with our writing, we nevertheless point to God with our words, working in such a way that whether we produce poetry or prose, fantasy or nonfiction, our writing reflects life in the LORD and invites readers to look to him. We point to him who is beyond us and yet with us, for he offers life and love and peace for needy souls.

True, our writing may fall short of this goal. We can speak coldly of the all-consuming fire, waxing eloquent about his ways or arguing passionately for right doctrine without love for the Word we’re describing. We can articulate the ways he is transcendent and immanent without considering the implications of those truths for our lives. We can write about him in ways that draw more attention to ourselves than to him. And we can assume mastery of theology, presumptuously writing of God as if we have him fully understood. In short, we can write arrogantly rather than humbly, forgetting our place and forgetting our fear.

While I struggle to live this out, I want every aspect of the writing process to be an act of worship. I want to strive for excellence in my writing because I work as unto the Lord. I want to testify to Christ in my writing because he is the way, the truth, and the life we all desperately need. I want to be attentive to the Spirit in my writing because he knows my heart as well as the hearts of my readers best. I want to glorify the Father in my writing because he is worthy of all I have to offer. Above all, I want to be faithful to the LORD in my writing, pointing to him with every word and mark on the page.


Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Nebuchadnezzar

Behold the beast king, the once man who was
Once full of reason, robed in royal hues,
Wretched and ragged now, soaked by the dews
Of seven seasons. Behold him who does
Not remember the ways of his fathers,
Driven to dwell with the beasts at the word
Of him who rules over human and bird,
Over kingdoms and rulers and bothers.
Behold the beast king, his reason restored,
More human now than e’er he was. He sees
That he is but a steward of decrees,
Humbly admitting he cannot afford
With all his wealth the cost of arrogance.
The king learned his own need for reverence.

Submitted Heart and Calloused Knees: The Power of Reverent Posture in Prayer

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When I was little, I remember praying with my head bowed, my eyes closed, and my hands together. Prayer, at that point, seemed tied to posture, as if a change in posture might lessen the validity of the prayer. At least, that’s how my little mind viewed the situation. As I grew, I learned that one could pray without folded hands, without a bowed head, and even without closed eyes. Such discoveries brought a newfound freedom to my prayer life, yet they also became opportunities for the flesh as I began to self-righteously look down on others who still maintained the posture of the early days of prayer. I thought that I’d grown beyond the need for such posture, that I’d grown so mature in my relationship with the Lord that posture and setting became concerns of the past. I’m beginning to reconsider the importance of posture, however. Continue reading

John Piper

 

When I read verses like Philippians 3:17 (“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us”) or 1 Corinthians 11:1 (“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”), I think of John Piper. Piper has consistently been an encouragement and a challenge to me, from first encountering his work when I was a high school student to seeing him preach last month at a missions conference. No matter how many authors I read, and no matter how many preachers I hear, I still hold John Piper in the highest regard. Today, I simply want to express my thankfulness for his ministry by highlighting a few things that have deeply influenced me in my walk with the Lord.

Continue reading

Fear of the Lord, part 1

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My eyes behold a sight so terrible
And lovely I cannot but stand in awe
And dread at knowing now what others saw,
The truth perceived in part through parable.
The Lord of all that is, in love and wrath,
Has ev’ry right to rid his world of me.
And I, now seeing him, do suddenly
Abandon all excuses for my path,
This road which led me to my own demise.
I am a sinful man deserving naught
But righteous condemnation without end.
Yet now I hear a spotless lamb’s last cries,
And now I learn my worthless life is bought,
And now I know that Christ has called me friend.

Who Is A God Like You?

Who is a God like you
That you should hear our cries,
And pardon our iniquity,
And never speak in lies?
Who is a God like you
That we are not too small
For you to stoop and seek and save
Our souls from our great fall?
Who is a God like you
That you should suffer loss,
And leave your throne to bear the curse
Of sin upon that cross?
Who is a God like you
Who overcomes our death
Who makes the broken heart to beat
And gives us saving breath?