Friday, August 17, 2012


"Pappa, when I grow up, how will I know how to get to Menlyn?", Matthew (8) asked with anxiety in his voice. We were driving home from school and I could see that tears will filling his eyes.

He was worrying that he would not know how to get to Menlyn to buy food and that he would starve to death as an adult. Now, you and I might find his question a bit illogical, immature, irrelevant or even amusing, but to Matthew it was a real worry.

The apple does not fall far from the tree. I can remember how I worried as a boy (about Matthew's age) about where I would get enough money to buy a washing maschine. I reasoned that I could buy fresh produce, and therefore did not need a fridge, eat salads, so I would not need a microwave, read books, so I would not need a TV, but washing my clothes...that was the real problem.

I listened empathetically to Matthew's concern. In my mind I wanted to tell him, "Matt, it is really not something to worry about. You'll easily find a shop near you where you could buy food". I could have told him that there would be more important things that will cross his path, which will be much more demanding than finding his way to Menlyn. Instead, we agreed that over the weekend, we will climb in the car and drive slowly from our house to Menlyn. He can then take notes as we go along, mapping the route until he is satisfied.

This led me to think, how many of my worries are real worries in God's eyes? They feel real enough to me, but I am so grateful that God does not respond by saying, "Ag, stop worrying, it's such a silly think to spend your time on!". I have experienced God taking my hand while I worry, and walk the path with me until I am satisfied that a situation is resolved. Everytime I worry now, I remind myself of God's commitment to us, to never leave us or forsake us. Does it take away the worry ? No, but it does help me realize that I am not alone. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Worship helps us stay calm

In the course "Manna and Mercy" (written by Daniel Erlander), we are reminded of what worship is.

Let us perhaps start with what worship is not:

  • It is not the slow songs we sing at church;
  • It is not the mere gathering of people for a church service.
According to Erlander (echoed by friend Allan Storey), worship consists of the following three steps:

  • Remembering
  • Retelling
  • Giving thanks
You see, the Israelites of old loved telling stories. Festivals and holy seasons were shaped around their stories. During special days, we are told, the young ones of the community would go to the elders and ask: "Why are we celebrating this day?". The elders would then tell the stories of God's faithfulness, of Israel's liberation from Egypt, etc. Remembering helps us grow in faith. It reminds us that if God was faithful back then, then God will be faithful now.

The second step is retelling. I think the point is covered partially in the previous point, but our retelling is not only of what happened in the distant past, our stories grow each day. Every day we can have something new to share. I think we fail to retell, because we miss the first step. We don't make time to remember. The third step is to give thanks. When we remember and retell, we find that we have reason to give thanks, acknowledging that God is part of our story...or perhaps we are part of God's story.

Do you struggle with worship? Well, try this. When you wake up, look at your diary. Pray for all the events that lie ahead, all the people whom you are planning to meet. Live the day fully. Before you go to bed, go back to your diary and think of how God was present in each moment. REMEMBER. Now, tell someone of at least one experience in the day where you felt God's presence. RETELL. Take a moment to GIVE THANKS.

The more we do this, the more we will notice that we are not the masters of our own destinies, but that we are part of a greater story of which God is the main character. When we don't do this, Allan tells us that FEAR + FORGETFULNESS = HIERARCHY (Power struggle). Don't go there today.