Mark 6:5 has to be one of the saddest events that is recorded in Scripture. It tells of Jesus’ return to His hometown of Nazareth.
Mark 6:5 (ESV)
5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them.
Matthew 13:58 records the same thing as they show us that our expectations are the key to what we receive. (Now)…If we could only remember this as we routinely come to church every Sunday.
What can we legitimately expect in worship? First of all, we can expect to start or continue a relationship with God. In worship we have the opportunity to say yes to Him for the first time or for the hundredth time. We can expect a new beginning. Next, we can expect new freedom. The old values can be reexamined. We can let go of greed, pride, ambition. God can give us new values. Third, we can expect guidance. We may come saying, “What shall I do?” and find that, all of a sudden, a light bulb comes on to illumine our direction. That light comes from God. Finally, we can expect healing. In worship, we can be healed emotionally, physically, and relationally. God may speak to us about letting go of old resentments. All kinds of grace can be channeled our way if we don’t “stand on the hose.”
We “stand on the hose” when we dull our senses to God’s work all around us. I was recently reminded of a story that told about two men who were walking down Fifth Avenue in New York. One stopped suddenly and said, “I hear a cricket.” His friend scoffed. “How in the world can you hear a cricket above all the hustle and bustle of Fifth Avenue?” The first man explained that he was a naturalist and trained to hear crickets, and to prove his point, he reached in his pocket and took out a fifty-cent piece and dropped it on the pavement. Ten people stopped dead in their tracks. He demonstrated that we hear that which has meaning for us. In the same way, we can develop our sense of expectation and train ourselves to anticipate God’s presence and intervention in our lives.
Many of us have heard worship referred to as a time to get your tank filled. Following that to its logical conclusion, we would come on Sunday and get the tank filled. By Wednesday it would be half full and by Saturday, almost empty, and time to come back again and have the tank filled (or your battery charged). It’s an unfortunate analogy. There is no tank to fill and no battery to charge. God invites us into His presence, and we are either in that presence or we’re not. No half tank, no half-charged battery. We either have a relationship or we don’t, and worship is a means of reestablishing and reaffirming that relationship.
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday and the next – as we expect to see God at work among us. He is going to. Just don’t stand on the hose.