Worship for us is no longer about a serene peaceful time to contemplate God and the ethereal plain….not that I ever did that, but it sounds nice. So, it’s no longer just me, worshiping the way I want. These days our worship is set to the rhythm of our son’s cooing and crying – trying to balance the cuteness of his noises with the disruption they cause in the service.
Having come from a church that had “cry rooms” to having a child in the service is a new experience and one that has enriched my worship. Rather than being outside the service looking in, we are part of the Worship, part of this community, cooing, crying and all.
Anne’s reflection on material things and what really matters hit home with me. How you ask? The question at the forefront of my mind these days is, what does my son need? My first answers to this question are simple: a place to live, clothes, food, toys, etc…material things. The hard part is these are not the things my son really needs. They are not the things I really need.
What my son needs, what I need, is relationship. The Israelites who worshiped the golden calf and the man who had the egg wanted relationship and no material thing can give that to them. As Tim Malone told me, “I realized I needed love and money isn’t love.” We need love and things aren’t love.
When my wife was pregnant, we asked ourselves what is the most important thing we can give our child? Now this is a huge question and everyone has an opinion. With the help of some wise counselors and friends we both came to the conclusion that the greatest gift we could give our child is to make sure our relationships were healthy.
This set us down a path that has been very hard. We have both had to face things in our lives and in our families that we didn’t know about and didn’t want to acknowledge. I had to wrestle with the fact that I was in a job that looked good, but was not where I was supposed to be. I had to acknowledge it was making me unhealthy and then find the courage to change that into my current role, which was hard and scary.
This focus has found its way into other parts of our lives. Do we buy more “stuff” or do we spend money visiting friends, spending time together or giving away what we can? These are everyday questions we wrestle with, because the stuff is everywhere and the line is: buy this and you will have relationships, you will be happy. That’s the same lie that was told to the Israelites, to build a calf and you will have relationship with a god. Hold on to your egg so you remember what it was like to have a friend. I need relationship with my son, my wife and God, but material things won’t give me relationship. They can’t. Being in relationship with someone takes time and intention, it takes resources and commitment. It takes a decision to be healthy, have healthy relationships and put your time, money and energy on making those a priority. I promise it will be hard, but it will be more rewarding than anything you can imagine.
- What would it look like for you to make your relationships a priority in your life?
- Identify one thing in your life that represents a relationship, but is not a relationship, it’s a golden calf.
- What reflections did you have from this past Sunday’s service?