I don’t know about you, but on those days when I set my alarm to wake me up at some ungodly hour I’m nearly always awake before the wretched thing goes off. Last Sunday was one of those days. I lay awake from about 5:00am and then finally extracted my disobedient body from my bed at about 5:30. I had to be at church for rehearsal for our Easter early sunrise service. Those three words send a shiver down my spine. Early. Sunrise. Service. I’m really not much of a morning person. It’s a surprise to me that anyone would want to get out of bed and attempt to sing at that time of the morning, let alone on one of the precious days of the weekend.
Easter, for Christians, should be the most significant day of the year; the celebration of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. For most I wonder whether it really manages to compete with the pomp and ceremony that enshrouds Christmas. The marketing guys are doing their best to make something more of it, but there’s only so much you can do with chocolate, small infant animals and eggs. If measured, my excitement levels probably weren’t where they should be for this glorious and mysterious occasion that changed the course of human history forever.
Concerning Jesus, C.S. Lewis writes, “…Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.” I’m sure in my mind there’s no halfway point. This notion that I believe should change everything. But often I find that my choices, my attitudes and my values clash with this beautiful paradox of following Jesus. It’s hard; and I often question whether my life really represents someone who has truly found treasure that is beyond compare to anything that the world has to offer.
So what would a life of worship look like?
Noah and his Ark full of animals was a story that most people of my generation and older are overly familiar with. I remember mornings at Sunday school as a young boy playing with fuzzy felts; sticking badly designed felt animals and a happy Noah with his odd looking family onto a rather juvenile shaped boat. Only in the last few years, as my childhood perception of the story has faded, have I sat back and contemplated Noah’s overwhelming sense of faith, courage and trust. I mean, who builds a boat the size of one and a half football fields and as high as a five story building in the middle of the desert? This assignment was such that even if God appeared to me in person, I think I would have taken Jonah’s advice and attempted to emigrate rather than count the cost and remain faithful to this outrageous request.
That said, many times over the last few years have I felt like the Lord has given me my own Ark to build. Many days I’ve felt weak, weary and vulnerable, and in my desperation, I think I’ve often tried to exchange God’s blueprint and design for my own. I know that many people have probably questioned my judgement and have, when speaking to me, wondered when I’m going to wake up from my ‘pie in the sky’ dreams and desires. (Believe me, there’s no-one that’s tried to talk me out of it more than me.) I think Ark building is a little offensive; it challenges the status quo, questions reality and points people to something outside of reasonable understanding.
The Lord has given each of us an Ark to build. I wonder what your Ark looks like. Whatever sphere, community, family or profession you find yourself in today why don’t you ask God to show you. The thing he’s called you to put your hands to might be scary. It might cost you the validation of others. It may lead you to make different decisions and to change your perception of success and achievement.
As a bit of a disclaimer, I’m not in any way claiming to be some kind of master builder when it comes to Ark building. Everyone’s Ark will look different, but I think there should be thousands of Arks of every size, shape and colour bobbing around on the ocean of life.