My grandfather had this saying I always thought was strange: “You’re going to get my goat.” There was no goat in the room. There was not a goat in the house. Or the yard. With time, however, the meaning became clear from the context. I was doing something irritating. He was telling me to change my behavior. The source of that phrase is interesting. Racehorse owners to this day often put a goat in the stable yard alongside nervous high strung racers. It helps quiet them. Whatever the reason, it works. And the horses get very used to their goats. Sometimes, on the eve of a race, gamblers or other owners would steal the goat from a rival’s stable. They knew if they succeeded in “getting their goat” that horse would not run as well in the race next day. Life gets our goat. It’s a little uncomfortable. Life often gets our goat. It’s irritating. We live nervous high-strung lives. People use drugs, therapy, and exercise to combat the stress. We have not made use of a simple thing that contributes to mental well-being and serenity: worship.
Frankly, we NEED the experience of worship. The church offers us forgiveness. We aren’t angels, and never will be in this life. We struggle with temptations, succumb to stupidity, and mess up our own and others’ lives. But week after week the church tells an old story. We can recount this story in new ways, familiar ways, in the box, out of the box…but the story does not change. The story of a God who loved and loves and will love us. A God who sent a Son to us so we could grasp the depth of divine love. A Son willing to die upon the cross to reveal this love will go to the death for us. A Son willing to save us from the darkness that resides in our own hearts. In worship, through familiar forms and expressions, this story is told again and again. We need to hear this message repeatedly and respond to the message. Worship gives us a vision of who God wants us to be. It also enables us to see that God needs what we can do to make God’s way – the way of peace and love – known in our town.
Don’t make worship an option in your life.
Come as often as you can.