Word for the Week

Sometimes the apostle Paul says something totally unexpected.  For 11 chapters of his letter to the church in Rome, he explores all that God has done to rescue a world that rebelled against His designs and desires.  He knows that this is the Good News, the gospel.  He knows that once we embrace the gospel we will want to worship.  So far, so expected.

But for people who think they know what worship should look like, Paul’s words at the start of Romans 12 are surprising.  Both devout Jews and pagan Gentiles would have had their own ideas of what constituted worship in temples, with offerings and sacrifices.  But Paul’s message to both groups is that worship is much more than religious activities: it involves our whole being, our ordinary body, soul, mind, spirit.

That would have been a shock to both Jews and Gentiles.  Spirit, yes, certainly.  But body?  Mind?  And what about the temple and the sacrifices?

Paul is saying that true worship is not just an inward, private, spiritual activity. Our worship should not be divided between sacred and secular.  True worship takes place through our attitudes, our finances, our politics, our leisure, our work and our play.  All these things can be done in God’s presence, in God’s ways and for God’s glory as we are transformed through the renewing of our minds by His Holy Spirit.

Our readings this week take these ideas further as we stretch our thinking about the meaning of true worship in our lives.

 Monday   Micah 6:6-8
Tuesday   Matthew 15:1-9
Wednesday   Colossians 3:12-24
Thursday   Romans 12:3-8
Friday   Philippians 2:12-18
Saturday   1 Peter 4:7-11