“The church must suffer for speaking the truth, for pointing out sin, for uprooting sin. No one wants to have a sore spot touched, and therefore a society with so many sores twitches when someone has the courage to touch it and say: “You have to treat that. You have to get rid of that. Believe in Christ. Be converted.” – Oscar A Romero
A simpler understanding of worship is in the very root of the English word, which is ‘worth-ship,’ the state of gladly recognising and responding to the supreme worth of God in Jesus Christ. The book of Daniel provides a beautiful example of worship by a former pagan Gentile. King Nebuchadnezzar after he came to know the Most High God as his God and Saviour said “l, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and l blessed the Most High and praised and honoured Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing (compared to His greatness); He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done? … Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise ans extol and honour the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (Daniel 4:34-37). Nebuchadnezzar’s heart was filled with a consciousness of the greatness, love, and goodness of the sovereign God. Worship exalts God and humbles man. There is no room for pride, arrogance, or unforgiveness in true worship (Jn 4:24).
Miracle of true worship points to changes in our lives and our circumstances. Worship changes our focus from self to God with a renewing understanding of the Most High God. In Genesis, the experience of Jacob in the midnight of his wrestling with God at the Brook Jabbok summons us to the matter and necessity of an authentic worship and relationship with God. For Jacob, it was a deep encounter with God to strip away everything superficial in his life. Jacob wanted God and not just willing to have a mere religion. In a very real sense, true worship does bring forth miracles, a stripping away of every superficiality. Jacob would not let the Angel go until the expected miracle happened. The angel said to Jacob, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed” (Gen 32:26-28).
Beside the miracle of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the greatest miracle of all is personal conversion, God turning wretched enemies into sons and daughters. Jeremiah’s description of the state of human heart as ‘desperately wicked’ points to the cause of every other evil in the world, especially the rebellion/corruption that takes hold in the human heart (Jer 17:9). What changes at the miracle of conversion is about you and l once ‘dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience’ (Eph 2:1-2). In Jesus Christ, you and I have ‘passed from death’ to life. Human conversion is greater than parting the Red Sea, more powerful than making the Sun stand still, turning water into wine, walking on water, transforming a few loaves of bread into a feast (banquet in wilderness).
Are you at the midnight of wrestling with God in any area of your life? There is a miracle waiting for you if only you can persist and persevere, holding unto the hope of finding new meaning and new power for your life. There is miracle of God’s strength for our weakness. In the midnight of our marriage, career, and ministry, let us hold unto God in truth and in Spirit. Tough time never last, but tough people holding unto God. The miracle of not letting God go, is available.
The Gospel reading on the multiplication of the loaves contains some Eucharistic overtones in relation to miracle of true worship (Matt14: 13-21). God calls us to life-giving meal, a banquet meal in the wilderness of our life, a meal of abundance in scarcity, a meal of strength for our weakness, a meal of conversion and renewal. In the act of worship, we experience God’s presence in more tangible way, the experience of God’s intervening and saving Presence in our lives. Stormie Omartian in her book, The Prayer That Changes Everything, provides a helpful insight to miracle in true worship. According to her “We were created to worship God. It’s a state in which our soul finds true peace, rest, and purpose. But it must become a condition of the heart, a way of life, a pattern woven into the fabric of our being. Worship must become so ongoing that it is no longer even a decision that has to be made because the decision has already been made. Worship must become a lifestyle. When you make worship a lifestyle, it will determine in whose image you will be formed and what you become. Sometimes praise and worship will be the only thing you do in a situation. You will stand and praise God while the tornados of life whirl around you, and you will see God move on your behalf. And then you will understand the hidden power of praise. When you understand that concept, it will change your life.” A lifestyle of worship is the key to abundant and miraculous experience. As a community of the cross, Church worship without conversion promotes religious consumers.