Sunday’s worship encouraged me in several ways.
It was the once-a-month combined worship time. Sometimes I feel quite distracted on these Sundays by taking care of the kids’ needs; figuring out what we should be doing, reigning Olivia back in, etc., that I find myself not really worshiping much. Somehow this Sunday I was able to enter in more fully.
The first thing that really encouraged me was watching Owen! Recently Owen has been somewhat reluctant to enter into public worship or prayer. These past few months he has just learned (most of) the Japanese hiragana characters. On Sunday, for the first time, he sat through all of the (Japanese) worship set, paying attention and intently READING the song sheet, giving singing his best effort. It moved me to tears to see this. Thank you, God, for giving a voice to this young boy to worship you.
The second thing that encouraged me was one point of the message delivered by Makio Sensei, the senior pastor of our mother church here. He was preaching on the woman accused of adultery who was brought before Jesus. Makio Sensei painted the picture well– even as we were sitting in a large circle, so too, did the crowds and accusers form a circle around this woman who had sinned. Rather than trying to figure out what she needed to help her out of her sin or to figure out why this had happened, they put her in the very center to be accused and shamed.
Then Jesus started writing in the sand. We don’t know what he wrote. But our pastor made a very interesting suggestion… when he stooped down to write, all eyes went from the woman — to Jesus’ hand. They all wanted to know what he was writing. Jesus was able to draw the attention away from the adulterer to himself. He in a sense covered her shame and took it upon himself. Just as he did, for all of us, on the cross. I loved that so much. How like Jesus! To choose to draw attention away from the sinner to himself so that she could know His grace.
And I started thinking about how I really don’t like attention on me either, and sometimes I allow it to remain on someone else so that I don’t have to draw attention to my own failings. And I often don’t think about the needs of the other and how I can take their shame onto myself. I was so convicted! And thankful for the covering of Jesus over my own sins and weaknesses. And for His grace that is more than sufficient to cover any and all of us.