For pastors like me, Easter can be too busy to worship. Well, we go to worship, lead it even, but the sit-down-get -your -personal-life-in-order-contemplative worship isn’t happening. It’s ironic, stupid even, but true. There’s extra services, extra set-up and tear-down for us portable folks, eggs to color and a special service to plan. Who has time for worship?
I stole the blog below from the department chair of Media Arts and Worship at Dallas Seminary. It was convicting for me, was hoping it could be helpful for you too.
Jesus entered the temple area and began to drive out those who were selling and buying in the temple courts. . . . and he would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. (Mark 11:15–16, NET)
It’s the Monday before the cross. But Jesus isn’t frazzled, rushing about, desperate to get His house in order. Instead, He is calmly getting His Father’s house in order. For us. The Gentiles.
Jesus first encountered Gentiles in His home when wise men from the east arrived after a long journey by starlight to worship Him as a child. Now, in His Father’s house, those living on God’s doorstep had co-opted true worship by streamlining and commercializing the process.
Here, in the court of the Gentiles, worshipers purchased sacrificial animals without missing a beat. Facebook worship. Casual. Easy-breezy. Limp. “Friending” God doesn’t work. He requires face time.
But, then as now, time was in short supply—so those in charge of the facility (as I’m sure the spiritual bean-counters had come to regard it) created a shortcut through the court of the Gentiles lest marketplace shoppers be inconvenienced by having to walk around the temple. “Good for business,” we can hear them rationalize. “A way to consolidate commerce and communion. Besides, some of the shoppers may be seekers. A shortcut would at least get them close to the spiritual action.” But Jesus blows the whistle, stopping the hurly-burly traffic through the plaza dedicated to Gentile worship.
I feel Him tugging at my sleeve too. Because I sometimes regard worship as an interruption. Which is precisely what it is intended to be. An interruption of my soul-scorching pace. Real worship forces me to pause—to acknowledge that no amount of hurry will improve the odds that I will “win.” Speed doesn’t alter the fact that we are hurtling toward a spiritual dead end. It just gets us there faster. The velocity of authentic worship is as slow as starlight.
This Easter, let’s slow down. Let’s savor slow and contemplative worship.
—Dr. Reg Grant, Department Chair and Senior Professor of Media Arts and Worship