Living Sacrifice

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“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:1-2

Worship.  We all have our picture of what it is.  Sitting in a pew.  Then standing.  Then sitting again.  Hymns, songs, prayers, confession-absolution, readings, creed, sermon, communion, benediction, done.  Go home. 

And do it all again next week…maybe.

But Paul would have us redefine what worship is.  More than an hour a week, it’s every hour of every week.  Worship is how we live our lives.  Paul calls it “presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice.”  A “living sacrifice” – that’s a new one.  Old Testament worship was all about sacrifices, dead ones.  Blood shed as a reminder of the seriousness of our sin.

But since Christ has sacrificed Himself, once for all people for all sins for all times, we no longer need the dead sacrifices.  Instead we ourselves are living sacrifices, witnesses to the grace of God in all our lives.

And this “living sacrifice” thing means we can’t compartmentalize our worship into an hour at church.  Rather, the time we spend with our spouse, our kids, at work, at play…it’s all worship. 

But what does that mean?  I think above all it means being mindful of God’s presence.  His closeness.  His involvement in all of our lives.  He wants us to talk to Him, to consider His Word in our daily decision-making, to talk about our faith as naturally as the weather or the Packers.

Does this mean that weekend worship at church isn’t important?  Hardly.  It’s so important.  For when we all gather together to receive his Word and Sacrament, we receive the strength and power to live our daily lives of worship.

The world sees life differently.  Which is why Paul wants us to not be conformed to this world.  God help us to be transformed by the renewal of our minds so that by testing we may discern what is the will of God.

Gracious Heavenly Father, you have called us to be living sacrifices, to worship You in all that we do every day.  Too often worship becomes something that we attend once a week.  Forgive us for compartmentalizing our faith, and help us to live out our faith each and every day as we remain close to you in Word and prayer.  For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

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