[why do you do it?]
I’ve started writing and rewriting this blog post a few times by now. I even got a few paragraphs into the post and then proceeded to delete all I’ve written. On purpose. Here goes another attempt to finally put my thoughts on this electronic “paper.”
Our pastors at the Kyiv First Church of the Nazarene had a sermon series around the Advent time based on the idea of “Emmanuel: God WITH Us.”
They discussed four near-fallacies that we sometimes live. They might sound good at first, but each has a hidden trap.
- Life from God (when we expect Him to give us everything and that’s all we need God for.)
- Life under God (when we live according to the formula “If you, God, do this ___, I’ll do this ___.”)
- Life over God (when we live our lives on Monday through Saturday and only on Sunday we spend time with God.)
- Life for God (when we concentrate more on doing things and serving others more than we actually concentrate on God himself.)
The Christmas sermon topics brought it all together to the concept of Life WITH God.
The number four on that list above was the toughest for me.
A bit of background. These past few months were tough for me because I had to constantly evaluate and re-evaluate my involvement with the worship ministry.
These past few months were tough for me because I had to constantly evaluate and re-evaluate my involvement with the worship ministry.
There were two worship teams, serving side by side, taking turns every other week. The worship leader I was singing with took a much-needed break to restore his health, and due to complicated reasons, I felt that joining the other team wouldn’t be right either.
A few years ago, I was actively involved in several ministries and was running thin, so I decided to stick with being a part of the worship team and let someone new to get involved with other activities. Then came the brief time I was in another church (the one my husband went at the moment), yet soon we both returned to my home church. Sam got involved in the worship ministry as well and everything was good. For a while.
Now we’re both “ministry-less” for the time being and the singing worship time hasn’t been easy.
Which leads me back to the sermon series.
The life for God is one of the most tempting traps to fall into. It sounds so perfectly good. Isn’t this something we’re called to?
As I listened to the words of the sermon, however, I started asking myself: why does it bother me so much that I am not up there on the “stage”, singing during worship?
I never thought I’m the one who likes to be up front, but it felt as if that suddenly mattered. What?!
I never really thought that I’m that proud, but here we go again… I caught myself thinking “Hey, I can do better than that person.” What?!
Those revelations about myself shook me deeply.
Disregarding the relationship conflicts, why was I there on Sunday mornings? To show up and show that I’m a good girl everyone thinks I am? Or to actually worship? And sing to God, not just lead other people in singing? (And again, me as a leader? No way.)
The life for God seems to have been my way.
I often laugh at the certain antics of the Orthodoxy here in Ukraine and there are reasons why its numerous traditions are not right (since they were a fruit of syncretism when Kyiv Rus people were forced to accept Christianity and many compromises have been made to re-adjust former pagan holidays to the new “improved Christian” ones.) However… wasn’t I doing the same?
However… wasn’t I doing the same?
Wasn’t I so focused on “tradition!” (gotta say that word with the Fiddler on the Roof accent) that I have left out more important things? So afraid of the change that I felt like shutting myself at home and watching science documentaries to avoid thinking about spiritual things. Or reading fairy tales and kids’ stories to avoid the real world altogether.
I haven’t found a clear way yet, but am taking it one step at a time, trust God to guide me. Where? No idea. I just hope not to get completely lost.
And for now, I’ll concentrate in worshiping Him on Sundays and throughout the week as well.
Sometimes from our usual place in the second row of pews. Sometimes at home, in the kitchen or in the shower. Sometimes on my way to work, as I am zig-zagging through the streets on a short walk from the subway to my office.
Sometimes through singing, sometimes through being quiet, sometimes in some other ways. I don’t know yet.