It was the flash of pink sparkles that caught my attention, then the slightly embarrassed looking Dad being lead behind. Worship had already started and a little girl of about three had decided that the best place to be was the front row – empty except for the pastor. Leaving her Dad to sit a bit further out she went and hugged the pastor and sat right beside him. It made me wonder when was the last time I had the urge to get as close as I could to the worship and to the word of God? Like most churches you’ll find our front rows pretty sparse, with everyone filling up from the back. We always sit in the middle and now I am wonder why? Perhaps the middle shows more commitment than the back rows, but less vulnerability than the front. Why is the front row so unpopular? At concerts and sports events people clamber and squash to get up close to the action but when it comes to church and God we become reserved and hold back.
I want to be close to God, but do I long to sit at his feet and listen and worship or do I prefer to keep Him at a comfortable distance. Why is that? Perhaps too close is too vulnerable?
Luke 10:38-42 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Mary no doubt knew there was work to do and no doubt knew that Martha was fuming, yet being close to Jesus was more important than ‘doing the right thing’ and keeping her sister happy.
Again at Martha’s house extraordinary abandoned worship took place:
John 12:2-8 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
Lord, relight a passion in me to come close to you, forgetting what others may think.