12. Spectate or Engage

12. Spectate or Engage

Our family spent a week in a place near Barrie last week for our annual family retreat. My wife Jennifer doesn’t get to spend that much time with her kids since she works full-time. So time like this is pretty special not just for our kids but also for us.

We wanted to do pony-ride for our kids on Friday so we went to this farm near our lodging. But to our dismay, the place was only open for weekends. Then I was reminded that we passed by a small zoo on the way there. So we ended up going there, since we had nothing else planned. We didn’t expect much because it looked like a very small zoo. But we were both pleasantly surprised when we got in.

We were first surprised that they had wild animals like tigers and lions in such a small zoo. But what I liked the most was that we were able to “feed the Giraffe”. Usually in typical zoo, giraffes are kept far away from people. But here, when my wife waved and called for giraffe, it began to walk toward us so close we began to scream! I’ve never seen giraffe this up-close in my life. It began to lick away all the food from Jennifer’s hand, then my kids got a chance to feed as well. It was unreal experience for us.

After the excitment died a bit, it got me thinking about our worship on Sunday. Many people who come to church feel content to see God from a far, thinking that’s a norm. We might acknowledge that God exists, mentally agree that God loves us and pay our dues but can keep his presence far away from our emotion. From time to time, I feel like I do the same as I’m busy doing my job on Sunday. But there is so much joy and excitement when we encounter God face to face in our worship. It is true that God is majestic and far too big for our comprehension. But he is also our loving Father who desires intimacy.

When we come to church, we can act like a spectator. We can sing songs without being too engaged with the meaning of the lyrics. We can listen to the message, without being personally convicted. But there is a better way. It is to engage yourself deep into worship, meditating every words you sing, and expecting God to speak to you on a personal level through the message. Bible promises that as we draw close to him, he will draw close to us. It is so much better to see him up-close than to watch him from a distance.