“You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” (Matthew 4:10)
This concise phrase pops off the page like a prescription for the year ahead as clearly as if a physician had jotted a remedy for the pressing “what-should-I-be-focused-on” dilemma. Not overly complicated, this verse presents the assignment for this next phase: worship the Lord your God and serve him only. Then take it a step further and allow each act of service to became an avenue of worship in this cathedral of time we call a year.
When God requires that we manage mundane tasks, come in second place to help fulfill another’s dream, or carry loads we would never choose, how exactly will we respond? When routine is the regular assignment void of fanfare or interludes, will it be unwelcome drudgery that we disdain? In bowing our knee to serve we are also given a chance to bow our heart in worship.
When unexpected winds cast us into confusion, what then? Will we remember this call to worshipful service and invite the Lord inside the gale? Mary certainly did. Her brother Lazarus had died and, cloistered at home grieving, she heard the Master was near. “The Teacher is here and is calling for you. And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him” (John 11:28). Her response contains a template to follow. Precisely in our own precarious circumstances we too must realize “The Teacher is here and is calling.” Like Mary, we go toward him, with our questions, with our concerns. Here is opportunity to worship the Lord even though we do not understand. The Teacher is here, calling to us, wanting to teach us what we could never learn any other way. Sacred music contained in common song.
The year will unfold one day at a time. Each one can be a sanctuary if we allow it, a time and place designed to worship the Lord and serve him only. As we write or teach, hammer nails, carry mail, or tap on keys, we are privileged to serve others as an act of worship to our God. One ordinary day after another in this cathedral of time we call a year.
Elizabeth Karram Mitchell