Brought out to worship
Exodus 20: 1-4 (NRSV)
1 Then God spoke all these words:
2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3 you shall have no other gods before me.
4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
A young girl listens to a concert pianist. She is free to switch off her iPod, free to watch TV, free to pick up a magazine and not concentrate on the sounds she hears. But she is not free to cross the room to the upright piano and play her own music. Freedom to play the piano comes after she is brought out through years of lessons, countless hours of scales into a new land, a new relationship with her piano.
My Lord and my God,
open my ears to hear your words,
transform my life in that hearing.
Beyond deserving you have chosen to make yourself known to us,
you have chosen to bring us from slavery into freedom.
It seems hard to us to be brought out, to submit our freedom to your leading.
Today, hear our words of thanks for your patience with us,
when we grumbled on the way, you did not let us go,
when we looked back to where we were, you did not let us go.
Our new found freedom is the gift of your patience with us.
We have heard your word,
we have made you our only God.
But the gods of this world shout loudly to us,
like market traders hawking their wares.
“Make possessions your god, you can have all this.”
But what happens when my possessions rust?
“Make popularity your god, everyone will recognise you.”
But what happens when they recognise me but don’t love me?
We have heard your word,
we will not imagine you to be like your creation.
But our eyes are daily filled with sights of wonder,
surely you are like mountains, lions, the sun and the moon?
In our freedom to see we enslave you, we limit you,
reducing you to what we see.
In our foolishness we exchange a God who is free for a god who is our slave.
It is for worship you have set us free.
Not the worship of the many false gods,
not the worship of our imagined enslaved god.
No, we are free to worship you,
the one and only God.
Constrain our freedom by your word,
may we worship you our speaking God.
Constrain our freedom by your cross,
may we worship you our Saviour God.
Constrain our freedom by your indwelling Spirit,
may we worship you our life—giving God.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
as you constrain our freedom, set us free,
as we worship you alone, may we be free indeed.