As the sun sets over the Jerusalem countryside, I reflect on a day that began with an early walk into the Old City of Jerusalem to some of its most famous sites. Our journey began with the walk to the Dome of the Rock (a.k.a. The “Al Aqsa Mosque”) and the Western (or "Wailing" wall). As we walked there, it was profoundly interesting to walk through both Israeli and Palestinian security forces. Within a matter of fifty to a hundred feet, Israeli mothers and fathers sing songs for their childrens' Barmitzvahs while Palestinian worshippers prepare to enter one of Islam's holiest sites. The celebratory nature of the Barmitzvahs was contagious even though the cultural traditions of worship were foreign to me and somewhat bizarre at times. Without sounding insensitive, the men beat their heads against the wall as they pray to express their sincerity and devotion to the Lord. Before you judge... you might beat your head against the wall a bit too.
The devotion of the Jews praying at the Western wall was unmistakeable, but my heart sunk at the reality that their worship is misguided. Essentially, they're just beating their heads against the wall. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus came to tear down the temple system so that the Holy Spirit could dwell inside the hearts of men. We don't need to go to a place to worship anymore. We are the Temple of God if Christ is in our lives. It is the fulfillment of prophecy after prophecy straight from their Scriptures.
Rather than embrace this reality and the newfound freedom of a personal relationship with God, Jews choose to reject Jesus and continue “waiting” for God to bring a Messiah or someone else who will reestablish the Temple. Rather than point the finger at the Jews, it sincerely caused me to ask the question: “Is anything in my own worship misguided?” I don't want any passion in my life towards the Lord to be misplaced. My prayer is that my methods of cultural worship would always be honoring to the Lord. I don't want to wind up like a Jew beating my head against the wall thinking it shows my passion for God when it is nothing more than misguided worship.
As you think about your worship, is there anything misguided? Maybe you try to sing the songs super loud and clap right on cue, but in your life there are some things that Jesus wants Lordship over. Jesus wants true worship through the obedience of our hearts.
Today has really caused a great many feelings and emotions, but that's enough for now. Love you all and miss you!