This post is part of a 11 week blog series that highlights the many ways we worship the triune God.
GOD’S WORK, NOT OURS
I am constantly humbled. Whenever someone remarks, “Wow! Good on you guys for leading Bridging the Gap!” I inwardly wince and try to correct the person trying to make polite conversation. Bridging the Gap, and its subsequent ministries, had – and continues to have – nothing to do with us and everything to do with God.
REFUSING TO LOOK AWAY
David and I are alike in many ways, but David’s worship experience is very different than mine, whether we are singing on Sunday morning or serving at Dinner of Love. David felt and continues to feel God’s direct call on his life to serve those who are less fortunate, whether the root is financial, addiction or mental illness derived. While his heart breaks often for the people he tries to help, the Lord fills him with joy through his service, too. And the Lord has revealed much to David over the years about Himself: how His timing is perfect, how His plan is different from our own, and how to love unconditionally within intense suffering. David worships in spirit and in truth (Jn 4:24). He allows the Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide him in his service, and David refuses (or maybe the Lord refuses) to allow scales to fall over his eyes. He refuses to look away from the poverty, pain and suffering that surrounds us all every day. As he walks down the street, he publicly worships by seeing and acknowledging those who are unseen, treating them like the brothers and sisters they are.
USING OUR FREEDOM TO SERVE OTHERS
David would say we worship in different ways by serving our community. Sometimes our service is a struggle: it overwhelms and exhausts. We are servants in this respect, but we serve a benevolent Master (Rom 6:22). Jesus helps us worship through service in the “new way of the Spirit” (Rom 7:6), instead of being shackled and burdened by serving to fulfill the law. And we always strive to not use this great gift, our freedom from the law and our sin, for an opportunity for the flesh, but rather a chance to serve our neighbours through love (Gal 5:13).
WORSHIP THROUGH SUBMISSION
David worships within God’s calling, resting there in the protection of His wings no matter what storm he sees roiling around him. I am different. My worship is lived out through submission. You see, I never felt called to serve the community we do this intensely. I did it because David felt called. As his wife, I was drawn into his passion and wanted to support his calling. My worship looks more like a hybrid between Martha and Mary (the sister of Martha, who sat at Jesus’ feet). In the early days of the monthly dinners, I would openly weep in the RCC kitchen, alone and overwhelmed, crying out to God. In my moments of desperation, I try to run towards the Lord instead of running from where He has placed me. In my life I probably identify more with Martha, but I throw myself at His feet, and He helps me be a Mary. I sit, and I share with Him my inmost thoughts and feelings. I hand them over. In my mind, I literally place all my thoughts and feelings, all of myself, on an altar in front of Him. This is how I envision “dying to self.” Not me Lord, but you. Your will. Your words. Your heart.
And that has further enmeshed my soul with Him. I have learned that He will provide – every month! (Ps 65:9, Rom 15:13). I have learned that He hears the cries of my heart and will send the Holy Spirit (and other brothers and sisters!) to be my helper (Jn 14:26). I have learned that God’s grace is more – way more – than sufficient: it is indescribable (Jn 1:16, 2 Cor 12:9).
We have learned to turn over everything to Jesus. James 4 points out that our entire lives are lived simply because the Lord allows us to draw breath. To assume we will do anything, including worship, outside of His will is folly. Instead, all of our actions, plans, dreams and desires should be centered within His will, and we will then worship Him in all our actions as we glorify Him by living in His will. “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (Jm 4:15)
It was the Lord’s will that we serve our community through Bridging the Gap in the first place. And if the Lord wills, we will continue to serve the people we have come to deeply care about and ultimately love.
Keri and David Haywood attend Westside's downtown Vancouver campus where they lead the Bridging the Gap ministry.