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04 March 2011

Clawing God's Leg With a Song

Our house is home to three animals (four if you count Hershey the outdoor Lab) and four humans. As far as the indoor animals go, Buddy the Christmas Puppy and Molly the Needy are brother and sister puppies, and Jesse the Homeowner is their 20-pound cat friend.

When I arrive home after having been gone for any length of time, there are some reactions that I know to expect, each based on the personality of the animal in question:

Buddy the Christmas Puppy will bark off and on for about 15 seconds (all the while acting like he's so happy he's going to have a heart attack), and then he'll run to get the closest chew-toy -- either a rubber bone or a sock -- and bring it to me and begin growling, to tell me that I should try to take it away from him. He keeps that up for too long. This is the way he shows that he's happy I'm home.

Molly the Needy will bark for a few seconds and then run to the highest accessible point in the room: the back of the couch. She'll stand there wagging her tail so hard that her bottom goes from side to side, and she'll growl in little bursts to ask me to stop chilling with Buddy and pay attention to her, and when I pet her, she does her best to lick me four thousand times in three seconds. This is the way she shows that she's happy I'm home.

Jesse the Homeowner... it's hard to tell when he's happy that I'm home, but I think I've figured it out. The best indicator of his happiness is when he plops down in the midde of the floor, in a direction he knows I'm going to walk. When I pass by, he doesn't smile or wag his tail or purr happily. Instead, he extends his claws and attempts to sink them into my leg. If I try to ignore it, he'll do it again. This is the way he shows that he's happy I'm home.

Each of these pets reacts in his/her own way in an effort to express love for me. To be honest, I find only two of those expressions to be acceptable. Can you guess which ones?

"Worship" of God has become a highy-individualized thing, and while some of that is acceptable and even essential, we'd better consider what we're doing. I think of the account of Cain and Abel when I consider expressions of worship. I also think of the times that God told His people that to obey is better than sacrifice. I consider the passages where God tells His people things like this:

Away with your noisy hymns of praise!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice,
an endless river of righteous living.
- Amos 5:23 (NLT)

May God purify our hearts and find our expressions of worship acceptable; not just the times we set aside to sing or meet with believers, but the daily, moment-by-moment way we worship God with our lives.


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