Ultimate Reality

Michael Bishop 04 Jul 2016 sunday blog  worship  Have you come across the expression “falling down a Youtube rabbit hole”? It’s what happens when you’re looking for a video clip for something and you get distracted by related content on Youtube. So, a while back I needed to find out how to change the grip on James’ cricket bat and ended up watching many video clips on the greatest run outs and catches in international cricket. It can happen to anyone...

This week I went down the rabbithole deliberately – looking for content from some of the Christian authors who have influenced me for years. It was a nostalgic hour – spent with Dallas Willard, Richard Rohr, Ronald Rolheiser, Tom Wright, Trevor Hudson and others.

I was especially struck by a short interview with the late Rev Dr John Stott who was asked “when do you feel most alive?” Stott was known as an avid bird-watcher and you got the sense that the interviewer expected him to speak about birds and his love of the outdoors.

His immediate response to the question instead was:

“public worship. I think I know what it is in public worship to be transported above and beyond myself into a world of ultimate reality with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven ... there is almost nothing that convinces me more of the reality of God than public worship”.

Stott then went on to speak of his experience of human friendships, and ultimately his love of birding and nature. But his immediate response challenges me. I have too often found myself present in “public worship” in body, but with my mind far away – caught up in trivial stuff. John Stott invites us instead to be fully alive and experience “ultimate reality” as we worship God together.

As we gather as a worshipping community this morning, may we come with such a sense of expectation that we too experience what it is to be fully alive in the presence of God.


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