In the movie “Field of Dreams,” a farmer named Ray Kinsella heard a voice say, “If you build it, he will come.” We discovered that “he” referred to Ray’s father.
“If you build it, he will come.” This statement speaks about our worship of God. We read in 2 Chronicles 29 about King Hezekiah’s reforms to build up Israel by focusing on worshipping God. The Israelites had not worshipped at the temple for many years after Hezekiah’s father closed it.
The reforms resulted in a revival in Judah. They built their worship and God came. These reforms restored true worship. They rebuilt the house of God into a house of worship. Many of us fail to appreciate the power of worship. We don’t see worship as an opportunity to enter into God’s presence. Many see worship as something they have to do whereby joy is not experienced. This is why people offer excuses when asked about church. Here is a list, which does not include all of the possible excuses:
• The church only asks for money.
• The people are not friendly or are too friendly.
• The seats are too hard or too soft.
• The pastor speaks too softly or too loudly.
•I do not agree with their decisions.
• The service went past one hour.
• I do not like that music.
• I have to sit with hypocrites.
King Hezekiah teaches that to truly worship God, we have to prepare and participate. Our preparation is to recognize our need to worship God as our creator. Preparation begins with a commitment to God to make God a top priority in our lives. Worship is not for impressing people, but for letting God transform our lives. Preparation also includes removing the clutter from our lives so God has a place to reside. This debris removal helps change our attitudes about God and others.
Participation consists of cleansing and celebration. God desires to cleanse us of sin through forgiveness. No sin is too small or too large that God will not forgive. Worship isn’t a pursuit of personal happiness, but a pursuit of holiness. When we focus on what God gets out of worship instead of what we get out of worship, then we move toward holiness. God works through worship to deepen the divine/human relationship. When cleansed, we are ready to celebrate what God has done in, for and through us. Celebration makes sure that worship is never boring. It becomes an experience of wonderment as we offer ourselves to God and the building up of God’s kingdom.
“If we build it, he will come.” If we build our worship, then God will come. Will you worship in God’s favorite house this week? It is up to you. See you in church for worship.
Wright is the senior pastor of Hinesville First United Methodist Church and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.