In the beginning, God.

Let’s pause there.

Oceans, beaches, butterflies, sun, Big Dipper, Milky Way — even time itself is not yet. Just God. Attempting to imagine this matterless scene brings us face to face with our limitations. And what is God doing in the timeless expanse? Only God knows. Whatever it is, it’s good. God isn’t bored or lonely. God is enjoying themselves — Father, Son, Spirit. As far as we know that is the only thing there is to enjoy. And it is more than enough.

So there is God the Trinity in eternal bliss, totally satisfied, radiant, full of joy and infinitely happy, in need of nothing and having everything. What do persons like that do for fun? They give. They imagine. They make stuff.

God decides to share the love. And the joy.

It’s too good to keep to ourselves,” muses the Three-In-One. Let’s make a family that looks like us and grant them one of our greatest superpowers: the ability to choose. It’ll be too much for them. They’ll choose poorly. But I have a plan. Let’s use their poor choices to expand their capacity for joy. First they’ll break themselves beyond repair. Then I’ll break myself for repair — my broken body supplying the material needed to remake them into vessels that can contain more of Me. This is going to cost me dearly. But I have counted the cost and found it worth it. Love compels me. I love everything I make. But I’ll love them most because they’ll look like Me. And oh, the joy — exquisite joy in store for all of us. I can taste it already. It will sustain Me in my darkest hour of suffering. I’ll be their God, they’ll be my people. I’ll make my home in them and we’ll reign together forever.”

What response is there to this staggering generosity? What do we give back to the one who gave us everything?

We give thanks. We bow in honor. We dare to draw near — boldly, because permission has been granted, and trembling because God is infinite personal energy and only fools approach that lightly. This is Friend, Father, Comforter. This is also Master and Maker.

O come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it, 
and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
O 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. —Psalm 95:1 – 7 NRSV

What is worship? It is recognizing the worth of something. And when we recognize the worth of something we treasure it. To worship God is to make God your treasure. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

When we worship God we come into agreement with truth, with reality. Because what’s worth more than God? Nothing. I don’t mean that as a theological proposition. I mean it as a fundamental fact of nature. We value that which is rare and beautiful and has the perceived or actual ability to satisfy our longing for connection and meaning and happiness. And there is nothing more rare and beautiful and satisfying than God. By that measure God is the most valuable thing in the universe. Holy, holy, holy, the creatures say around God’s throne. They know. God is totally unique, wholly other, infinite and unseen yet taking on the form of a human so that humans could see His beauty more clearly — the glory of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

Our job as mothers and fathers, artists and writers, pastors and teachers and worship leaders is to help others see reality — to behold the beauty of God. We’re tour guides. We drive people out to the Grand Canyon of God and stare breathless over the abyss and say Will you look at that? And our wonder inspires their wonder.

God is not a cosmic egotist. God doesn’t need to hear us say, You are good, slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness — patient and powerful, high and humble.” God doesn’t need to hear us say that but we need to say it. We need to set our minds on it. Because it’s the truth and the truth sets us free.

So God doesn’t need anything — but what does God want? God wants friendship. God wants friends because God still likes making stuff. And unlike most of us, God likes maintaining it, too. God decided his pleasure and glory are increased by making and maintaining and creating and reigning with someone — someone made in God’s own image. Wonder of wonders, that someone is us.

Jesus is King of kings, and we are the kings and queens over whom he presides. We relate to him as such, with reverence and awe. How could we be so lucky, so fortunate, so blessed? This privilege of being called sons and daughters and friends of God is cause for celebration. We burst into song, we dance with joy, we fall on our face, we stare in silence, we receive the Father’s embrace.

Oh Jesus, how is it that we get to sit in heavenly places with you? If that weren’t enough, you’ve come closer to us than we thought possible — you made us your home. People once went to the temple to worship. Now the temple is us. We are portable sanctuaries to worship you and talk with you wherever we go. Never again will we rejoice alone, never again will we suffer alone, never again will we have to figure it out on our own. Thank you. Praise you. There is nothing more satisfying than glorifying you.

Photo by Geronimo Giqueaux on Unsplash

Text First Published December 2018 · Last Featured on September 2023