Preparing for Worship

by | Jul 21, 2023 | Preparing For Worship

Ralph ManuelPreparing for Worship – Ralph Manuel.

As we look at the world around us, it is easy to become blinded by the day-to-day sameness of our lives. We become so accustomed to seeing what we always see that we don’t really see at all. Our comfort zone is, by definition, quite comfortable. It takes an effort to look past our surroundings to perceive what is present but unseen.

The words to today’s choral anthem help us open our eyes to see beyond what is apparent. There are three steps. First, treat each day as something special, as something new and fresh, sent by God: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Open your senses to the glories of nature, as described in the opening lines of the anthem: “The earth smells sweet and every flower looks bright.” As you take the time “to enjoy each moment,” you find yourself lifted above everyday concerns and free to dream dreams.

The second step is drawn from our experience with earth’s seasons. In the bleakness of winter months, life may appear desolate or dispiriting, but we recognize the “promise of spring after winter’s sleep.” Things will not always remain as they are. (We in Texas can apply the same principle to extreme summertime heat.) Focus on what is sure to come: “Look to that day when earth shall sing.”

Once we have mastered the first two steps, we are ready for step three: Open your eyes to see what God is doing. In 2 Kings 6 we read of Elisha, the man of God, who was the only one aware of the true state of affairs as Israel found themselves besieged by a formidable army. In verse 17, Elisha prayed concerning his servant: “ ‘O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the Lord opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw; the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

God is always at work in the world to accomplish his purposes. “Look to the light that will drive out darkness; look to the hope that will conquer fear.” The anthem closes with this prayer: “Help us to see, O Lord, how it could be, O Lord.” Let us “look to the day.”