Moving from Watching to Being

Moving from Watching to Being
Our culture is full of opportunities to be entertained. For example, we can go to the movie theater and sit and watch from reclining seats. We can sit on the couch and watch a favorite show on television. We can even watch movies on an iPad or our favorite smartphone in the car or coffee shop. All you have to do is watch and listen. You can come and go as you wish. You can change the channel, stream something else or simply turn it off when you get bored or find something else to do. Whatever your choice may be, you can sit back and tune in as a TV buff, movie buff, spectator, fan or critic. It’s simply the way we do entertainment. Someone else does it for us. It may cost us a few dollars but we can just sit and take it in. It is designed for our viewing pleasure. You may have heard it described as mindless, effortless fascination.
Regardless of what our entertainment preferences may be, we can go from the couch, to the car, to the office and to the theater and listen and watch our electronic devices as it meets our desires. Whether on the move or stationary, it’s at our fingertips. We may very well be limited by time, but otherwise, the choices are endless. It is often stimulating and thought provoking as well as entertaining. We can be amused alone, with our family, with friends or among patrons at a restaurant. In fact, the electronic media variety of entertainment is so accessible and pervasive that we can have it when we want it twenty-four hours a day. Again, it exists for our pleasure. Along with that, on the down side, there is a growing need to manage our moral boundaries, impulses, addiction as well as allowing time for more important things.
As you know, electronic media is just one example of the entertainment choices available to us. When we add sporting events, parks, dining, theater, concerts and the like to the mix, there is always something clutching for our attention. All of these sources tell us we need it, we have to have what they’re offering and we deserve it. Among the sources specific to electronic media, we also have so-called religious programming at our finger tips. We’ve had limited choices on television for years but now, with livestreaming and YouTube, the options are seemingly limitless. If we aren’t careful and mindful, it becomes just another option for us to tune in as a spectator, fan or critic.
With that in mind, whether we attend an in-person worship service or tune in via television or livestream, there is a tendency to watch instead of participate. And as we watch, instead of participating in worship, we unwittingly take on the role of a spectator, fan or critic. We often struggle with the transition from being entertained to pouring out our love for Jesus. We consciously have to fight the desire to focus on ourselves with our ideas, opinions and preferences instead of giving our full attention to Jesus as the center of our worship. This should remind us that we aren’t called by God to watch worship. Furthermore, we aren’t called to watch the ministry of the church. Furthermore, we aren’t called to simply go to or tune in to watch church. Instead, in every way, we are called to “be worshippers” and “be the church.”  PS 95:6  Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
Please take the time to think this through with me. When we watch anything, we can ease into the role of spectator, fan or critic without noticing. We have been conditioned, in some cases brainwashed, to think and react this way. But when we are to be, that is, to “be a worshipper” and to “be the church,” we quickly crawl off the throne of our heart and bow a knee to Jesus as we give of ourselves to Him and Him alone. Our giving, serving, praising, singing and preaching becomes ultimately for Him. So, as we move from watching to being, we move from a focus on self to a focus on Jesus. All in all, we move from feeding our desires to pouring ourselves out to God in love and adoration.
Entertainment is designed for our viewing pleasure. You may have heard it labeled as a mindless and effortless way of relaxing. We enjoy the fact that someone else does it for us. It may cost us a few dollars but we can just sit and take it in. We can sit back and tune in as spectator, fan or critic. It’s simply the way we do entertainment. However it’s not the way we do worship nor the way we do church. We are called to “be worshippers” and “be the church.”  As such, we are full participants in acts of service, devotion and worship for the glory, honor and praise of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. It’s for Him and Him alone. It’s neither mindless or effortless. It is a state of being. We are present, active and engaged with a desire to celebrate Jesus in love and adoration. So then, it’s time to move. That is, move from watching to being. LK 4:8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”
A Work in Progress,

Pastor Gene