Palm Fronds, Engage!

palm
I’m going to be honest with you. I don’t particularly feel like writing right now. In the past few weeks my work schedule has been flipped to diametrically oppose my wife’s, which means we get to see each other literally about an hour a day before we go to sleep. We moved at the beginning of July and still haven’t quite managed to banish the cardboard boxes from our home. And just in case that wasn’t enough transition, we rescued a puppy two weeks ago. Sure, at the moment he’s sleeping fitfully at my feet, but I’ve spent the vast majority of the morning scolding, chasing, and cleaning up after him. What I’m trying to say is, my mind is in a thousand places right now, and God-stuff isn’t necessarily one of them.

There was a time when that fact would have sent me slipping and sliding down a shame spiral. The fact that I didn’t quote the 23rd Psalm as I bagged up Cornelius’ leavings must mean I’m a failure as a Christian. Or how about when my computer refused to boot up? A good Christian would have anointed it with oil and performed an exorcism to rid it of the techno-demons that have certainly possessed it. But instead, here I am, just a guy, getting all caught up in the mundane trivialities of day-to-day life. Playing with a puppy, fixing a computer, and trying to clean up the house a little bit. God must be so disappointed.

Years ago, I asked my mentor if worship was still worship if we didn’t feel like it. When we sing songs at church, does God accept it if our heart isn’t in it? It felt like maybe it was disingenuous; like God was asking if his outfit made his butt look big and you were just feeding him the answer you knew he wanted to hear.

My friend pondered the question for a moment or two, then asked me if I had ever seen a movie with a king sitting on a throne. Inevitably, there will be a shot of the king sitting there surrounded by a cadre of servants all fanning him with palm fronds. “Do you think those servants spend every minute of every day thrilled and excited about the fact that they get to do what they’re doing? No! But they love the king, so they do it even when they don’t feel like it. Does that make the king appreciate their fanning any less?”

Put in those terms, it seems obvious that God would just appreciate the fact that we’re worshiping him at all; regardless of where our head is. So, let’s take that thought a step further… If Worship is Everything, then maybe that means that there aren’t any lines. There are no clear delineations between “God-stuff” and “Life-stuff”. Maybe God was in the moment that my puppy made me laugh. Maybe when I fixed my computer, God felt some pride at the abilities he has given me to work with those systems? Maybe when you’re chasing down your kids for the umpteenth time, or up to your eyeballs in work, you are exactly where God wants you. And maybe, just maybe, worshiping God has less to do with how we feel, but more about engaging the world and those around us.

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One response to “Palm Fronds, Engage!

  1. I am so with you on this. In the same way that love isn’t always a feeling, but an action, I believe worship is also, many times, an action. We are showing God that even when our fickle feelings aren’t engaged, we still love Him and know that He is God.

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