Why did Jesus take his disciples so far north to ask them a couple simple questions? Caesarea Philippi was in pagan territory after all! Let’s take an unofficial tour and see this famous bible story with new eyes…
I sensed this was the week that above all weeks was to be set aside for the journey into death. I knew the worship of the church would take me by the hand and lead me step-by-step into the experience of death and rebirth, if I would allow it to do so. I resolved then and there to walk in the way of the cross. I purposed to make this the week God intended it to be for me, a week of intense spiritual struggle—and reward!
-Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year
Since God is speaking and acting in worship, response to God who speaks and acts is of great importance.
In my response, I am once again saying yes to God. As with the initial response when I first heard the word of God’s love and grace, I again respond to him in faith and love. . . . I respond to God in worship because he makes a difference in my life. . . . My response to God . . . determines my priorities in life. It puts me at peace with God, my neighbor, and my own life.
I wrote this for a specific worship service, but it’s didn’t fit. However, it seemed to fit our NIGHT TO SHINE event that is happening tonight. So, I wanted to share it. We are also continuing our study looking at Jesus’ Divinity, Humiliation and Exaltation. That makes it doubly relevant. Here we go…
This time of year, we look to the same God as Moses. The one who said I WILL BE WHO I AM is with you. The one who said He would be EMMANUEL, is GOD WITH US! This season, remember that the same God who promised to be faithful to Moses, to Israel, is faithful to you. He is the the one who lit the bush, the mountain and the Bethlehem night skies on fire and who came as a baby to live with you.
Response, from the very beginning of worship to the end, must be a powerful inner experience of actually being in the presence of God. When we sing a hymn or say a confession or prayer, we are not singing or saying words, but expressing a feeling, bringing our souls, truly responding and communicating to the loving and active presence of a loving and merciful God.
Once upon a time, there was a “man of the road” and a “man of faith”. His name was Abraham. We see that he came to worship by faith alone and was given blessings from God. However, these blessings weren’t for him alone. He was blessed so that he could be a blessing to others…
Worship in Wilderness after Eden always involves death. First, there is our death from sin and then the death of Jesus…but as we’ll see in this story…the blood of Jesus speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
“Theology is the North Pole and art the South Pole of the Christian Life. Theology is the study of what God does and says; art is what people say and do in the entire context of what God says and does…. You can’t have one without the other…’”
-Eugene Peterson 1932-2018