Unprepared

We have all had them – anxiety dreams.   We are suddenly back in college.  It is final exam day for a forgotten class.   You have not attended a single lecture and know nothing about the subject.  You wake in a sweat.  Then, slowly, a wave of comfort washes over you as you remember that you’ve been out of school for years!  It was only a dream.  

We all have our own brand of anxiety dream.  For some it is being back on the high-school basketball team.  For me it is realizing ten minutes before the end of worship that I am supposed to be at church and in the pulpit.   I can’t find my Bible or my sermon notes.  As I approach the service in my pajamas, there are hundreds of new visitors.  This is the stuff of recurring nightmares.  We all have these anxiety dreams about appearing somewhere unprepared.  And, of course, the mother of all anxiety dreams is the one which involves a wardrobe malfunction.

But for ABC News reporter Will Reeve, this ubiquitous adolescent nightmare recently became reality.    Reporting from his home due to the quarantine, Will was broadcasting live on ‘Good Morning America‘ for a segment about pharmacies using drones to deliver prescriptions to patients.  According to CNN, the 27-year-old acted as his own cameraman for the broadcast, but failed to angle the camera such that it hid his pants-less legs.   He initially appeared to be wearing a full suit, but eagle-eyed viewers quickly noticed that he had no pants on below his suit jacket and took to Twitter to call him out. 

Growing up, Will Reeve – the son of Actor Christopher Reeve — probably dreamed of the glorious ways he would leave his mark on the world.   Yet his greatest fame appeared, as it does for many, in a moment of infamy.   He will forever be the man who appeared before millions with no pants.   We laugh at his failing, but fear this ourselves.   Appearing before others unprepared and uncovered is in everyone’s anxiety wheelhouse.  But as much as it worries us, how concerned are we about appearing before the Lord unprepared and uncovered?   How careful have we been as we approach the throne of grace and mercy rightly?

Perhaps the sweetness of God’s promises in Christ have emboldened us, and rightly so.  Jesus bids us to come – “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  We are promised that “whoever comes to [him, He] will never cast out.”   Because Christ is our great high priest, we may “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

The throne is open, the golden scepter is extended to us, but there is still a manner of approach we must consider – the gracious manner God has laid out for us in His Word.  Like the wedding feast in Matthew 22, God calls us who are unworthy to attend and graciously gives us what we need to approach Him.  But Matthew 22 also issues a serious warning.

But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Though unworthy, the man was graciously called.  Not called just to feast, but to celebrate the groom.  He was offered all he needed to join in the celebration, but refused to put on the wedding garments.   If we refuse God’s gracious means, the “wedding garments” he has laid out for us, we will become of us?  We are never to come before the Lord casually or carelessly.

How do you appear before the Lord in prayer and in worship?   We are warned in Scripture not to appear casually or carelessly before our God.  God loves to receive his children, but he has established the approach – an approach clearly revealed in Scripture, and especially in the Psalms.  Prayer and worship, if not directed by Scripture, are fertile fields for idolatry.   Worship is never an open field for human creativity.   But when worship is reformed, according to scripture, it instructs us in our approach to the Lord in every other area of life.

How do you appear before the Lord in prayer and in worship?  Do not appear unprepared, but learn from his word and his worship how the Lord delights to receive you.   Join us on Facebook Live at 10:30 am this Lord’s Day, May 10, as we examine the Psalm 113 and consider how we are to call upon the name of the Lord in prayer and in worship.