Preparing for Worship – Jenna Sullivan, pastoral resident.
O LORD, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away…Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. The opening words of Psalm 139 take my breath away a bit. To be known so deeply. Can we even bear it? We spend so many hours and academic degrees trying to know God. We often forget that God is much better at knowing us. How vulnerable — to be seen with crystal clarity. God does not see us through layers of human judgment. God doesn’t size us up at first glance or read our books by their covers. With perfect holy vision, we are seen just exactly as we are. Naked. Uncovered. Can we bear it?
As we prepare for worship this week, I wonder what it would be like to allow ourselves to be seen by God. We already are seen, after all. But it is a different matter entirely to accept that.
It is different to see this time of worship as a time where all of our fancy worship costumes and masks just can’t hold up to God’s X-ray vision. God has already seen our unformed substance. God isn’t impressed by pomp and circumstance. Charmed, perhaps, but not impressed. Instead, with sacred illumination, God sees straight through our worst excuses, passive aggression, abandoned dreams, and sees straight to the heart.
How dare God see us so clearly — and what exactly will God see? As you prepare for worship, prepare to be seen. Prepare to be loved more than anyone else is capable of loving you. Prepare to feel vulnerable. Prepare to feel small in the presence of Someone much greater and much more powerful. Prepare to be seen.