The story is told about a woman who one day walked into a Baskin-Robbins in her home town to buy an ice cream cone. As she turned around to put her change in her purse, she came face to face with her favorite actor, Paul Newman, who just happened to be in town filming a movie. Overwhelmed with emotion and unable to speak, she sheepishly shuffled out the ice cream parlor door.
When she got outside, however, she realized she didn’t have her ice cream cone. Embarrassed, she walked back into the store where once again she came face to face with her screen idol. Paul Newman looked at her with a smile. “Are you looking for your ice cream cone?” he asked. She quietly nodded yes.
“Look down,” he said, as he pointed at her purse. Sure enough, her purse was dripping with wet, sticky ice cream. In her excitement, she had put the ice cream cone in her purse.
When was the last time you got that excited about meeting God at church?
When we worship, we come face to face with our God and Savior. We lay our prayers and offerings at his feet. We sit before him and hear him speak to us in his Word and Sacraments. In worship we meet our Maker.
So why don’t we get more excited about worship? Why do we often consider our time with God boring and mundane?
Because we fail to see his face.
Though we meet God in worship, he seems distant. His glory is hidden behind the cross; his body and blood behind the bread and wine. His voice whispers to us in the distant readings of his Word. He stands behind and speaks through weak, sinful and sometimes dull preachers.
Oftentimes worship bores us – or at least doesn’t excite us – because it fails to meet our foolishly high expectations. We want a mountaintop experience. We want to see the fire of Mt. Sinai and the glory of the Mount of Transfiguration. We want to feel the earth quake and hear angels sing. When the music and the preacher fail to meet our grandiose expectations, we feel like worship failed. We fail to see God’s face.
Do you want to get excited about worship? Don’t go shopping around for a church with mountaintop music and a fiery preacher. Simply remember that God usually doesn’t come through earthquakes and fire, but through the gentle whisper of his Word (1 Kings 19:9-18).
Hear God’s voice speak to you as the pastor quietly assures you your sins are forgiven. See God’s face hidden behind the small wafer of bread and sip of wine. Know that the angel choirs of heaven are singing backup for you.
Every Sunday in Word and Sacrament, we come face to face with our Savior God, who died our death and suffered the hell we deserve.
That’s something to get excited about.