Saturday, March 14, 2009

why i worship

i realize that i don't write very often and then often times when i do write, i begin by saying i don't write very often. this is not to say that i don't think about writing here but i usually stop myself from hitting the 'publish post' button before i subject the world wide web to my self-indulgent rantings. in all honesty, this is more self-preservation than benevolence but whatchugon'do. it is.

when i do write, i find that i rarely write about my faith in more than a passive voice. God tends to be a sort of supporting character in my blogs and i'm very careful about the way that i talk about my religion. even in my school life, i don't tend to be all that vocal about my subscription to Christianity, not so much because i'm ashamed per se, but because i know that membership to a religion is empty without character, integrity, and (yes i'm about to say it) love. now my relative shyness about my faith would all be well and good were it not for the fact that i actually work for a church and as my pastor has pointed out on numerous occasions, second to him i'm the most visible person on any given Sunday; for those of you that don't know, for the past few months i've been the primary worship leader for our morning services. and though i don't have any trouble speaking to the congregation about the wonder and majesty of the God i believe in, i admit that for whatever reason, i still have trouble doing so here. my semi-noble justifications certainly don't excuse my hesitance but nevertheless, i feel compelled to proceed with caution for the benefit of those who don't prescribe to my worldview. i'm not sure if this is the "right" thing to do so please be patient with me as i attempt to navigate the contentious and sensitive topic of faith. i hope that regardless of what you do or don't believe, you can at least believe in my belief as i take a moment to share a significant revelation. this is not my attempt to show off my piety (or lack thereof) but to simply testify to the reality of the God i've come to know.

today, the family and friends of Craig Wong celebrated his abbreviated but incredible life on earth. exactly one week ago, his life was taken by an agressive brain cancer that took just 16 months to take its toll. many came forward and told stories about his friendship, his compassion, and his incredible faith in God. sadly, i only got to spend one afternoon with him a few months ago and though i envy those who knew him better, i know that those few hours impacted my life forever. a couple of the pastors and i visited Craig at his home to just spend time with him, pray with him, and to sing a few songs of worship with him. it was the first time in long time that Craig had a chance to sing praises with other believers and i was humbled to learn that he and his wife Betty talked later about how much it had blessed him. by this point, Craig's health had deteriorated significantly and he could only move around with the assistance of a wheelchair. we were there to minister and comfort him but within the first few minutes of being there, Craig began to minister to us. he talked about how despite it all, he was grateful for his family, his friends, and that he had never felt so close to God - this coming from a man who knew that soon his wife would be a widow and his kids would be without their daddy. needless to say, i was completely blown away by his enduring faith and though this left an indelable impression, it wasn't the most striking image of the day. i couldn't take my eyes off of little Kate, Craig's youngest daughter, who running around her daddy's wheelchair, giggling and pushing him inches forward then inches backward, and in the most heartbreaking moment of a heartbreaking day, sat at her daddy's feet - butt on one of the footrests of the wheelchair, tiny legs perched up on the other. there's no way she could've understood what was going on, none of us did really, but in the midst of palatable sobriety and indescribable confusion, all that Kate was concerned with was enjoying her time with her daddy.

this image stayed at the tip of my mind as we worshipped during Craig's memorial today. it stuck with me and will continue to remain a powerful metaphor for why it is i worship the God that i worship. i don't worship because i understand God; i don't worship because i get what He's up to or why He does what He does. i worship God because He loves me and because of His love for me, i'm learning what it means to love him back. His love for me is demonstrated in the blessing of every breath, my ennumerable friends and loved ones, and a peace that passes all understanding. i have lots of questions for God, i run into doubt constantly and i wrestle with what this whole faith thing means to me all the time - but i hope to one day have the kind of faith that Kate has and simply learn to enjoy the presence of God in the midst of it all. i want to sit at the feet of my Father like Kate did, like i know Craig is doing now, and just worship God because i know that He loves me.

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