Sustenance for The Spirit
Since I’m old, I remember a time prior to many of the technological advances we depend on each day. This often spurs conversations among my similar-age peers whereby reflections are discussed, replaying images of lives lived with limited knowledge and sparse accessibility. The world was smaller and in our memories, slower and simpler.
Today’s world is fraught with the capability to make connections previously thought impossible and a sense that anything can be discovered if we just know the right search words. I believe this has built within us a belief in perfection, or at least that we can allow ourselves to expect what we see on our screens to be perfect, and that we can produce a form of perfection in the visual representations technology presents to us.
In a recent worship experience, there were technology issues at our church. Since we feel like we must embrace the new as life progresses forward, technology has become an integral part of the “corporate” worship for many churches on any given Sunday. Something became apparent during our technology-challenged service; just because we can fund and provide sound systems, does not mean we can run them. Even utilizing the talents of members who have chosen to make themselves experts in order to serve and provide an enhanced worship via technology, there are many things that can go wrong. There are a number of experts needed, and the bottom line is that it’s not going to work perfectly all the time. And, those of us who are not “behind the scenes,” making it work/not work, are simply wrong to have an expectation of perfection.
Our worship can only be what we humans are able to produce. Some days it may be a more polished production and other days, not so much. We allow our expectations to supersede scriptures like John 4:24, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” We forget, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2, NIV) We once again search our hearts for true worship, which we know can occur with or without technology. To be perfect is to be in tune with God. It does help when the technology works well, because we are not as distracted, but to expect a flawless production to elevate us in our personal relationship with God, sounds more worldly than spirit-filled.
I fear that we have become like the children of Israel waiting for Moses to come down off the mountain, becoming so impatient that they decide to just make their own god, a golden calf. Expectations can get us into lots of trouble. When those antsy Israelites didn’t know what had happened to Moses, they must have felt abandoned. Moses was their representative of God and he had not been seen in a really long time, having walked into a dark cloud on Mount Sinai. They had an expectation that since God had brought them to Sinai, had provided water and food when they began to thirst and starve, and Moses apparently knew each move to make, their lives were pretty perfect. Slavery was in the past, and a promised land lie ahead. Until, Moses vanished. Then the expectations faltered into fear and impatience.
Perfection is a moving target on earth. We get glimpses at times, but it’s something we can’t expect regularly. No matter how smart we become with our phones and watches, or how savvy we are at finding apps and podcasts, or even how adept we are at searching out “needed” facts, we can’t make things perfect. Only God can do that, and it may not happen until we share glory with Him. We must beware of the dog of perfection. Let’s keep our expectations in check, love the imperfections as reminders of God’s redemption and accept nothing but flawed beauty in our worship to our Creator.
Have a wonderful day!