We have thought on your steadfast love, O God,
in the midst of your temple.
What do you think of when you think of going to church? I hesitate to use the phrase, “going to church” because there is a very real sense in which we do not go to church but rather followers of Christ are the church. But I will bow to the common understanding of the phrase and speak of going to church. So what do you focus on when you go to church? Are you thinking about the songs that you don’t like singing? Are you pondering how long the sermon is because your favorite team is kicking off at 1pm? Are you thinking about those people who have wandered into worship and they clearly are not dressed appropriately? Are you annoyed with your spouse because they made you run late or because they nagged you into going to church? Maybe you are thinking about how the preacher really didn’t understand or explain the passage correctly and you are now wondering if you can trust the rest of their teaching.
The author of Psalm 48 reflects on what a gathered group of people focused on when they went to church, the temple. They thought of the steadfast love of God. They pondered the strength of God’s love for them and how that love would never die or never end. That love from God to His people is the strongest motivating force you are ever going to experience. To fully experience the love of God in your life and see that love demonstrated in the death of Jesus on the Cross is the most powerful, life changing experience you will ever have. It becomes the motivator of your worship.
My best times in worshipping God are those times when I am struck once again by God’s love for me. That love breaks me. It breaks me of my pride. It breaks me of my anger. It breaks me of my insecurities. It breaks me of my love for sin. In that brokenness I find myself enthralled with God because of His love. Indeed it is true what Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than he lay down his life for a friend”. Jesus laid down His life for me. What great love! He also said that I love Him because He first loved me. When I was still His enemy, when my life was opposed to God, when my heart desired only my sin and my selfishness, Jesus loved me with such a steadfast love that He went to the Cross for me. Pondering such love brings me to my knees and to tears and my heart pours out love to Jesus in response to His love.