A Mediocre Altar

I would describe 2017 overall as mediocre.  It wasn’t amazing, but there were amazing moments.  It wasn’t horrible, although there were some really tough moments.  It was just…okay….and when I reflect on 2017, I can giggle and shrug and say, “Well, I tried.” And try I did. I tried to “be good” at the 328 things I think I should succeed at. No major failures, no real huge success either.  Sort of “meh”…..if you will.  It was a mediocre year for me.  Lucky for me (and you) God isn’t mediocre, yet he meets us in our mediocrity and makes those places worshipful and Holy.  It is strange and wonderful.

Where do we worship? Physically? Mentally? In a building or outside? Typically, we think of worship as what we do on Sunday mornings at 9 or 10:30. We (sometimes) dress up and make ourselves presentable. Our church building is this way, too.  We have a lovely altar, communion table, candles and flowers.  I think it’s great to have such a beautiful sanctuary to worship in on Sunday mornings.  But when we leave the building….where do we worship next? Do we worship outside of Sunday at 10am? Or can we worship anywhere else?

The answer is yes, we can and should be worshipful in all aspects of our lives. But what does that look like? Are we worshiping God when we’re at work, sitting in a dreadful meeting? What about taking a final exam? What about sitting in a doctor’s appointment, hearing bad news? What about standing in line for 15 minutes at King Kullen the day before a blizzard? Can God be worshiped then?

Again, the answer is yes, worship can happen all of those places. The Bible tells us that “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”. –Colossians 3:23

Colossians 3:23....from my altar

Sometimes our altar is clean, sometimes it’s messy, and sometimes where we worship God – or spend time with Him – is not in the place we expect.  Where is your altar in between attending an actual church service?

My altar is the kitchen sink. I don’t know what evil goblins wander into the kitchen and create dirty dishes all day long, but they exist.  I swear I can be home alone and there be no dishes…..I can take the dog for a walk, come back and find a plate, knife and coffee mug sitting there.  The washing machine is a close second.  I can remember early in our marriage when I would do 4 loads of laundry (including towels) a week. That’s it. Somehow adding 2 small people we have at least tripled that. Is this the new common core math everyone complains about? I don’t get it. But you get my point….a lot of time goes into dishes and laundry.

I have discovered a wonderful aspect of these never-ending chores….time to myself to talk to God. To pray. To ask questions. Two very average, normal, boring, mediocre altars.  God meets us where we are, where we need him to.  We do not need to wait until Sunday morning, or until we have a lovely altar – he will meet us where we need him when we look to him.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:4-8

My altar.