You will be reading this in the morning- but these are just my thoughts at around 11:02 PM after a great night of worship at Atmosphere Park Ave.
As I played my bass through the worship set tonight, I began to look through the crowd that had gathered on this rainy night. There were more people then usual, perhaps due to the weather or school having just started or something like that. At any rate, our Worship Leader led us in The More I Seek You, Hungry, Sweetly Broken, and Your Grace Has Made Us New a song that I had written for our sermon series through the book of Galatians. He (Joel) was doing a fantastic job as usual, and I carried along in my playing. As I glanced through out the crowd, I began to pick out people I know. One girl (whom I know) was sitting alone with her head bowed in worship. How dare she? Thought I. She is far from being in the right place to worship God like that tonight.
Then I stopped. Not playing bass, but I stopped singing, watching, listening to myself- and I remembered what pastor Josh had just preached about. Then, I remembered what I had said just prior to offering, communion, and gathered worship- we are justified by grace alone through faith in Christ Jesus alone. I had let myself forget that and was instead focusing on this girl’s sin. How dare she? NO! How dare I!?!
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
I look back now and realize how Pharisaical I was being. You know, there is a Pharisee and a tax collector- they both start praying, the Pharisee thanks God that he isn’t as bad as the tax collector- and the tax collector begs our holy God for mercy (Luke 18.9-14). This girl (like the tax collector) wouldn’t even lift her head- maybe she couldn’t…
Here’s what I know. I know that her sin issues are grand indeed. But mine are worse. Perhaps they are worse because I know I am worse of a sinner. Think about it. I know I’m a dirty rotten sinner. I like to point out the sins of others. In doing so, I am proud. So in addition to my mind being free to wander off during the music- I am proud, arrogant, and just downright (dare I say) judgmental.
But here is my hope. Christ is faithful. He even saves the Pharisees like me. If I am humble and realize God’s great gift to me, I have no grounds for boasting. But I can’t do it on my own. “My grace is sufficient for you” God says, “My strength is made perfect in your weakness” (2 Cor. 12.9).
Remember that as you worship with the family this morning- you are just as evil as everyone else in that room- but Jesus saved you unto good works (Eph. 2.10).