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October 18th Meditation

“Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only God.’” Luke 4: 8

This is Jesus’ response after the devil has taken him to the top of the world and offered to make Jesus “King of the World”, if only Jesus will turn from worshiping God. The temptation is a bit one. A larger temptation than most of us will ever encounter. One could do bunches of good if one were in charge of the whole world, but Jesus knew better. Temptation always looks good at some point.

Jesus was prepared to refuse this big, tempting offer not just because he was the Son of God. Jesus had practiced in his life for such a time as this one. He mirrored his relationship with God as a priority for all to see. He grew up learning and knowing the Torah, worshiping in the Temple and taking regular time for prayer. Jesus lived, better than anyone else, a life centered in worship to God.

Worship is the act of giving honor and praise to another. We all worship something. We all have a focus of attention which brings us to our knees. A devotion so great we cannot imagine life without its presence. A commitment so genuine we will do anything to keep it. We all worship something – but is that something God? or even of God? Such is what Jesus’ witness helps us identify.

We are innately wired towards worship. Jesus knew this and used such a gift to enable him to hold his focus of worship on God – the only One truly deserving of our faithfulness. Debbie Thomas writes in The Christian Century, “If I’m wired and destined to worship, if my worship has the power to make or unmake my heart, then [this] scripture makes all the sense in the world. They’re reminding me to focus my attention on the only one who is truly good, truly worthy, and truly just. They’re inviting me to align my loves with the divine love. To walk in the way that is the Way and to live in close and intimate company with the one who is the Life.” (October 2023, pg. 35)

So, who holds our attention? What overtakes our thoughts? Where do our schedules take us? Upon what do we spend our disposable income? Such questions help us begin to discern what we worship. Such reflection is not just helpful but is necessary for believers today. We are living in a time of great divisiveness, rising hatred, and loss of connection to one another. Worship of the One True God helps us find our way. Jesus quietly says in the face of monumental pressure and temptation, “Worship the Lord your God and only God.” Seems we could all learn from him about true worship and devotion.

Faithfully Yours,

Rev. Wendy

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