Volume 1, Issue 6
March 23, 2009

Everyone was talking in clusters, sharing their struggles and victories as they had shared their faith since last seeing one another. Then Jesus spoke above the general noise of their voices: “Let’s all sit down. It’s time to worship now.”

One immediately spoke up: “Master, is it true that a Samaritan leper worshipped you yesterday? That he actually ran to you and grasped your robe while bowing at your feet and poured out his heart of adoration to you? And, without even being invited?! Is it true?!”

Exactly at 11:00 o’clock, the microphone boomed, “Please take a seat. It is time to start our worship service.”

Can’t imagine Jesus making that statement? Can’t believe that anyone would ask Jesus such a question? But, the third statement—the instruction—is above question? How can it be?

Jesus demonstrated that worship is a life-style he lived. His life was one that was “bowed down before” the Father, no matter what the physical position of Jesus’ body. No, he didn’t always sing. No, he didn’t always pray. No, he was not always in the temple. But he was always prostrate before the one he honored. And, he never, in all of the words recorded as from his mouth, called anyone to ‘worship.’

Those who knew Jesus and began to understand who it was in their midst, knew the Samaritan leper was doing that which was prompted from a heart grasping, at least to some degree, who had “touched” him. That Samaritan didn’t have to be “called,” or “instructed” to worship Jesus; he yielded to the natural, overflowing of a heart longing to adore its master. His adoration didn’t rely upon a time and place, a process approved, or a group entering into the same activities. Flowing out of an understanding of power and glory, this Samaritan prostrated himself at the feet of the object of his adoration. No call, no structure, no prescribed format.

How did we get here from there? True to form, we have purchased, from our fore-fathers, the forms and definitions, rather than seeking to let God tell us what a word or practice means.

The leper, like Isaiah, Ezekiel and John, came to see and be awed by the glory of the Lord – and fell on his knees, his face, before that glory. Christians are told about the idea of a “worship service”: “…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” In such a mindset we find Isaiah, Ezekiel, John and the leper. Would that we were so free!

Many of us are loathe to imitate Catholic practice, yet we imitate it to the greatest degree Sunday after Sunday. Form and structure have replaced being filled with the vision of a God who loves us and dwells among us to the degree that we are on our faces before him always. So, when he asks, “Whom shall I send?” our response is silence. When he says, “Write what you see and hear,” we turn on the TV. When he says, “…exhort one another day by day…lest any one of your be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin…,” we speak of the latest ball game, how cute our children or grandchildren are, or how much we dislike out job. When he tells us that we each are to be participants within his family, we are more than willing to sit as a spectator and let others do those things that they do week after week!

Too bad we can’t see our leprosy and our healed condition. Too bad we can’t see that “…the dwelling of God is among men”! What has us hamstrung?

Hamstrung – To disable by cutting the great tendon at the back of the hock; cripple; to render powerless or useless; thwart.


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