Many people have tossed around the expression “I work to live; I don’t live to work.” The idea is that they have no intention of allowing their jobs to control their lives – a healthy attitude. Some people have lost their focus and allow their vocation to consume them.
Our attitudes in worship can become unclear at times too. In today’s passage Jesus and his disciples are walking through a grain field. What do they do? Who sees them? What story does Jesus relate? What is the purpose of the Sabbath?
The Sabbath is a day meant for rest and for a time dedicated to God. The purpose for setting aside such a day is not to give us another situation where we are restricted by rules and regulations. Rather, a day of rest is intended for our physical and mental health. A day set aside for God is meant for our spiritual health. In Jesus’ own words “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
We can have similar attitudes in our worship times and in our faith walk. The new Christian or those seeking God can be shunned or shut out of a church because they haven’t learned how to “do” church. Knowing when to stand, when to sing, where to go, what to say, can be very confusing to a person new to worship. But church was made for man, not man for the church.
The purpose of worship is to give all people an opportunity to encounter the presence of God, to draw nearer to Christ. Embarrassing someone or scowling at a person who may seem confused doesn’t help. Isn’t it more important that the person’s heart is seeking God? Isn’t it more important that the person is trying to get on the right path?
The rites and rituals of worship are established not as obstacles or as hoops that must be leapt through. The act of worship is not a step by step process that absolutely must be followed to reach the ultimate goal. It is an opportunity. It is a time and place meant to help us.
Value the rituals of church for the intention behind them and not for the rigorous observance that may result in mistakes.
DAILY CHALLENGE: Is there a person who may need or want to learn the rituals of your church? Is there a loving and gentle way to teach them?