Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
Week of: August 23, 2020
Scripture: Romans 12:1-8
Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice – alive, holy, and pleasing to God – which is your reasonable service. Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.
(Romans 12:1-2, New English Translation)
Sacrifice is defined by Merriam-Webster as both "an act of offering to a deity something precious" and "destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else." Honestly, offering the gifts that God has given us is enjoyable – our voice or other musical instruments, our body in dance, our hands in creating or writing. We share and create familiar and new songs, artwork, movements, liturgies, and rejoice in God's gifting.
My Sunday morning practice is to arrive at church 30 minutes before call time. This is to ensure that I am truly ready for corporate worship – with my head and my heart. I may use the time to pray or read scripture but, most often, I sit at the piano and share the tunes going through my mind at that time. These "carved out" moments are special as they cause me to be more focused and ready to worship with my brothers and sisters. This is an effortless sacrifice.
The other definition of sacrifice involves destruction and surrender – things that are difficult and require more than just a few minutes of our time. This type of sacrifice is a choice. Honestly, it is often easier to just not make that choice. However, we are called to be "living sacrifices." We must allow God to change those things that need to be changed in us. We should even invite God to do so.
I challenge us to give our gifts and to surrender our lives fully to God so that we can become who God wants us to be.
O holy God, please transform me. Please make me what you desire for me to be. Please illuminate any of my thoughts, attitudes, habits, and actions that would not please you so that I can repent. I want to be alive, holy, and pleasing to you. I truly desire to do your will, not mine – even when it is difficult – because I want to live fully in your love. I praise your name and want to better serve you. Amen.
Chapter Coordinator, The Fellowship
Worship Arts Director, Aldersgate United Methodist Church
Photo: Diane Combs plays the piano at Waynesville First UMC during Music & Worship Arts Week 2019. (Fellowship photo by Daniel Craig.)