Rural

Rural

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Escape

In a current hit song, popular country music star Kenny Chesney sings about escaping from reality.

For me it's a beach bar
Or on a boat underneath the stars
Or with my band up on a stage
For a while everything's okay

For some it's a fast car
Moonshine in a mason jar
And everybody has their way
Somehow to escape

Reality, yeah, sometimes life
Ain't all that it's cracked up to be
So let's take a chance and live this fantasy
'Cause everybody needs to break free from reality

Its true isn’t it? Don’t we all get tired of the day-to-day routine at times and dream about our next vacation, our next chance to ‘get away from it all,’ our next escape from the work-a-day world, whether that world entails teaching, writing, crunching numbers, changing diapers, or whatever?

Not too long ago, I attended a worship conference. It was three days packed full of stimulating intellectual discussions, impressive preachers, and worship services that few churches have the resources to duplicate. It was truly a highlight, an escape from reality.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that although this did feel like an escape, it would probably be better characterized as an escape to reality, not from it. You see, humans were created for worship of their Creator. The Westminster Catechism states that the chief end of humans is to “glorify God and enjoy him forever.”

Aside from the fact that three days is not forever, that conference felt like rest for my soul because I was doing exactly what God created me to do: glorify and enjoy him.

The truth is, every Sunday should be like that conference. We should look forward to having the chance to escape to the reality of our ultimate purpose or “chief end.” The Heidelberg Catechism, another confessional document, actually hints at this in its interpretation of the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy. It says that this commandment allows us to “begin [already] in this life the [promised] eternal Sabbath.”

Although we should glorify God in all that we do, the idea seems to be that formal times of worship are previews of the ultimate future reality of life in the immediate presence of God.

Its too bad that so many Christians look at communal worship as more of a duty to be endured, than a restful escape to a foretaste of the eternal Sabbath. There are probably a multitude of reasons for that. But maybe this weekend, whether you are able to take a vacation or not, you will consider spending part of your weekend getting away to reality.

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