Psalm 68:32-35 (NLT)
Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth.
Sing praises to the Lord.
Sing to the one who rides across the ancient heavens,
his mighty voice thundering from the sky.
Tell everyone about God’s power.
His majesty shines down on Israel;
his strength is mighty in the heavens.
God is awesome in his sanctuary.
The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.
Praise be to God!
There is an episode in the Narnia Chronicles of C.S. Lewis, which speaks of the Christ-like figure of Aslan, the lion. The children in the story are reminded that he is not at all a ‘tame’ lion, even though he is good.
In our rightful desire to draw close to God, we recognise his fatherly love, his compassion, his grace, his infinite understanding of us. But as with all wonderful truth, there is a wider context. Our God is utterly good, but not at all tame. He is not to become a projection of our own inner wishes. We cannot make him a means to an end.
Having a wider perspective like this shapes, and reshapes, our gathering together. Hear the words of Annie Dillard: “The churches are children playing on the floor with chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews.”
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We worship a God who will not be domesticated by our liturgies or our disciplines or our church programmes. All these are meant to serve God and allow him to be God, they are not meant to keep him in a box.
Let the lion roar; let God be God.