July 22, 2011

When Worship Becomes Effortless

Isaiah 40:28-31

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength …
Isaiah 40:31


Early one Sunday morning a woman’s shaking voice on the phone told me that her husband had just had a stroke. I drove up in time to see the paramedics strap him onto a gurney and wheel him away—a tall, strong man who had “clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:4), who had been with our church since it began. The people who gathered for worship later that morning sat in stunned silence as I told them about his collapse.

Our brother’s recovery took more than a year. But one Advent Sunday morning, three months after his stroke, we arranged for him to light the Advent candle. As he walked slowly to the front, the congregation again sat in silence. He lit the candle as a familiar promise of healing was read from Scripture. Then he walked slowly back to his seat—having helped us all find a new way into those ancient words.

His physical healing was a sign of the shalom that God brings to all who hope in him. It doesn’t always happen quickly. Sometimes the physical shalom of God’s kingdom waits until the life to come. But when the worshiping community is given a sign of it, as we were that Advent morning, our strength is renewed, hope flares to life, and true worship, the adoration of God, becomes as natural as breathing.

Great Healer, enter our hearts today. Show us your healing touch and ignite the longing of our hearts. Thank you for the community of faith, a place to see things that help us grow steady and strong. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — David Den Haan

Pastor Dave Den Haan has served at Fairway Christian Reformed Church in Jenison, Michigan, since 1999. Previously he served a church in Minnesota. Dave and his wife, Connie, have three children.

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