Goodreads to Muse

Click to read my reviews

The Book Thief
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
On Gold Mountain
Bread & Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
City of Tranquil Light: A Novel
The Distant Land of My Father
The Paris Wife
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Fall of Giants
World Without End
A Stolen Life
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
The Pillars of the Earth
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
The Road
Trials of the Earth: The Autobiography of Mary Hamilton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Cutting for Stone

Gigi's favorite books ยป

Entries in Worship (2)


Jacob muses

The Arc de Triompphe stands in Paris as a monument of victory honoring those who fought in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars. Jacob put up a monument honoring God. Jacob woke up from his sleep. He said, "God is in this place - truly. And I didn't even know it!" He was terrified. He whispered in awe, "Incredible. Wonderful. Holy. This is God's House. This is the Gate of Heaven."

In Genesis 28 Jacob is fleeing his home after “trading” a bowl of porridge for Esau’s birthright.  Abraham had blessed him and sent him on his way to get a wife. Nonetheless the bitter taste of guilt must have lingered on Jacob’s tongue long after the tang of the porridge left Esau. 

God appeared to Jacob in a dream. You remember the story. The angels were descending and ascending to heaven on Jacob’s ladder. God told Jacob, “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land ; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."

The verb there for “keep” is shamar, a covenant verb. The Old Testament Word Book defines it as “to exercise great care over.” 

I’m not altogether sure of the connection, but it is the verb used in Genesis 2:15 when God tells Adam to keep and cultivate the land. It is as if the Lord has seen that we cannot keep covenant, so He will. I like the notion that even though it was our job to keep and cultivate, God is the Keeper. 

When we studied Genesis 2:15 in church, our pastor said this verb is used more often to refer to how the Levitical priests KEPT the law. Shamar refers to the work of the Levitical priest in the Temple of God. They cleaned the tabernacle. They killed the animals for sacrifice. They chanted. They hummed. They prayed. They risked being killed if they entered the Holy of Holies haphazardly. 

I began to think of myself as a Levitical priest. I am to keep the temple: my body, my story, my life, my unique face. I am to love my story as my birthright. Esau despised his birthright. Will I despise mine?

This wonderful promise of God to keep reminds me that when I fail to keep, when I fail to obey what God commanded Adam to do in the Garden; God is keeping me. God is my Keeper.

Jacob’s response is the essence of musing. He said, "God is in this place - truly. And I didn't even know it!" He was terrified. He whispered in awe, "Incredible. Wonderful. Holy. This is God's House. This is the Gate of Heaven." Genesis 28:17, MSG

Jacob has seen God, albeit in a dream. Words almost cannot hold the experience. He is afraid. This word for fear is used 314 times in the Bible. The word for terrified, yare,  means to cause astonishment and awe or to inspire reverence or godly fear. 

The fear gives way to worship. He worships. He sets up the stone as a marker. 

To see God in a new way and utter forth mumblings in response is to muse. Muse with me all the great things God has done for us.



In a word, life’s purpose is distilled to ONE THING. 

Worship is our wonder-filled response to God’s Essence. 

If wonder is the first step to surrender, surely the second is to drop to our faces. 

Simply put, worship happens when I descend from a higher place to a lower place. Once I have seen the Power and Majesty of God, I cannot help but fall down on my face. Over and over, the Bible says that folks fell down and worshiped. John even says he fell down as a dead man.When we see Him as He really is and we see ourselves, we are undone before Him.

I want to worship God in Spirit and Truth but so often I am bound by the confines of this body. Last week I attended a Christmas concert. The Spirit of God electrified the small venue. My spirit desired to stand with hands toward heaven. But I remained seated obeying social pressures and fear -  polite, conventional, bound. I missed an opportunity to be foolish and undignified before the Lord as my body desired to personify what my spirit felt.

Of course this is a metaphor for my life. I desire to follow Christ but continually choose other gods - little g. 

I believe the path to worshiping in spirit and truth is one of accepting my creature-hood.  Not hiding, dodging or denying it. When I pretend that I don’t have these limits, I puff myself up and God has no dwelling place in my full cup. However, in repentance, my soul is in the proper posture before God. Face down. 

What is His response to this prostration? He reaches out his right hand and lifts me up. 

Even in attempting to name the process, I risk bypassing mystery. Worship is not an empty box on my to-do list that I check off during the day. Often, I find am surprised by worship. Sometimes it’s like invisible fingers wrapping around my heart and opening my eyes to feel the awe and wonder that is God. He is the Great Initiator. His grace fuels even the slightest turn of my soul toward Him.

A few weeks ago, Bill set up two chairs here - the Supposed-To-chair and the Get-To-chair. He explained that we sit in one or the other as we relate to God. I saw the truth about my heart. The shame dissolved in worship as I agreed with God about my sin. In that process, I recognized a spark of desire growing. I want to love the Lord more. I want to worship Him in Spirit and Truth. I want to want to read the Word and treasure it. From that spark, a Living Fire grew in me. I felt God multiply my desire to a great flame. And so goes the cycle... An unraveling and a waiting, a welcoming and a wonder at the re-forming.

To worship God is to ascribe to Him His worth - His place in the world. My life is an offering to Him. He doesn’t need me to worship Him. But I get to.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Revelation 1:17-18