true Christian worship is dangerous, far more a risk than a consolation, because true Christian worship initiates us into the stories and practices of a God whose ways are so maddeningly different from our own and, therefore, full of hope.
…True worship is risky because through it we become increasingly vulnerable to the love and goodness of God, a love and goodness that can be so powerfully transformative that through it we gradually acquire a new identity and a new way of life.
Paul Wadell, Becoming Friends: Worship, Justice, and the Practice of Christian Friendship.
This week I became increasingly vulnerable to that love and goodness. And it was profoundly transformative. Things changed in a deep place within. And Jesus didn’t even need my help to do it.
I’d like to pretend that I knew all along that he didn’t need my help. But actually I spent the first twenty four hours of this precious Beauty From Ashes five day retreat fearing that I couldn’t get myself out of his way, that I couldn’t actually surrender control in a chosen vulnerability to this love and goodness.
I shouldn’t have worried though. When he comes in strength, who can stand?
True Christian worship really is dangerous, a response to a being who is intimately personal and yet no less powerful for that. And, even as I write this, I am being careful about what I share. So much of it was holy ground this week. Things which I dare not name save in the quietness of my own soul. A new movement into that which I once knew. A deepening and broadening and overshadowing. A reminder that his promises never fail and that what he began those many years back in Cambridge was only the smallest taste of what he has for me. The gift of a wonderful lady who knew how to guide my prayer, to help me carry what he was doing in me and to respond to it more deeply.
Truly I have known the love and goodness of God this week. He has initiated me into ways of his which I had never known except by rumours on the wind, things maddeningly different and which make me almost uncomfortable yet, unaccountably, also fill me with hope.
I have known this risky worship. And I will never be the same.