I don’t know why I have been so drawn by ‘F words’ this month! Maybe because of the implicit ambiguity, that explosion of rude passion that cuts to the heart when we hear the common expletive that these days is splattered so extensively across our media and society: ‘F’ has come to mean ‘something else’ underneath the surface. Perhaps thats why its a good letter to explore! But whatever the reason, all writers love alliteration and anything that helps me focus on where I am on my journey is good!
Focus, frugality, fasting… and failure. But some of my facebook friends begged to differ! For them F is for faith, feasting, fun, foreign places, favour, function, FIRE!, France and the Filipines (you cheated there, John!)… not forgetting football and formula one. It just goes to show we all have different aspects of the picture and none of them are ‘wrong’!
I am not one of those people who look down their nose at fb as a complete waste of time: it has its place and I enjoy it. I love the social networking stuff – the easy banter, colour, pictures, jokes, clips and serious stuff all mixed in – a modern sharing of life. It helps us stay connected to each other and to reconnect with friends we had lost plus its great for conveying mass news, needs and invitations, as we have found invaluable with the ‘Support Sam‘ group: somehow less ‘boring’ than email! I know many people don’t have time for it, but when you are at home alone all day it really is encouraging to connect with old friends all over the world and can be a virtual lifeline… but isn’t it addictive? Yet it is definitely part of our modern world and as some of us older ones catch on to the transition of the times, the Spirit is certainly using it, just as He uses other forms of communication and technology. So I won’t be giving it up – unless for a season of fasting! – but I do know I need to keep it firmly in its place, somewhere between hobby, tool and creative outlet!
Becca drew this wonderful fictitional page for her Being and Tim blog which seems to sum up the colour, humour, superficiality and yet educational possibilities of the medium 🙂 And oh dear, I know I am headed for ‘f is for failure’ again even as I write because I just spent 30 minutes looking at fb in the middle of writing this paragraph! But it is all part of the blogging journey – and that too has to have its right place.
What I am trying to say is, I want to make the choice to open my day to the Lord before being led (astray?) into (often rather pointless) internet chat. To sum it up in appropriate language, first thing in the morning ‘www.’ should stand for ‘worship, wait, word, full stop’!
Facedown is a worship song and album by Matt Redman. Facedown is not our usual position for worship – as it is for Muslims! – but in fact the Hebrew word most used in the Old Testament for worship means ‘to lie prostrate’: so even this picture on the album cover is not a proper representation of being stretched out before God, as low as I can go. This is more the intercessory position adopted by Elijah praying for rain, with his face between his knees (ie birthing position! 1 Kings 18v42)
However, the song says, ‘I’ll fall facedown as your glory shines around’, referring to the Shekinah glory that came into the newly consecrated temple in 2 Chronicles 7. The Hebrew word here is ‘kabod’ literally meaning ‘heavy’: that’s why the priests fell down and literally couldn’t do their work under its weight… Some of us have experienced that ‘heavy glory’ – which can also be manifested as drunkeness – when the tangible presence of God comes into a room: it just pushes you to the floor. In past revivals people fell under it, fell to their knees crying for salvation – an awesome thing. I remember gradually sliding off a chair as I felt the heaviness coming on me, then finding I couldn’t get up, and when I did manage it I was drunk – I couldn’t walk or speak straight! What was that about? Yielding to God’s power, letting Him have control, going with what He was doing: I look back over the intervening 12 years to see that weekend as a major turning point in my life!
I love that – even more than I love facebook! But I also know that it doesn’t always happen that way. It happens much more often that I simply choose to get down on the floor and lie facedown before the Lord – as an act of wordless worship, a bodily prayer of submission, to represent the sacrifice of my life. There have been seasons when there were no more words or even tears and that was the only heartfelt expression I could find. I spent one winter (not long before the drunken experience actually) habitually lying before the Lord in my living room, deliberately choosing to submit to Him in the difficult and confusing situation I found myself in: I also trace the subsequent release in ministry back to those days.
“Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, which is your spiritual worship” Romans 12v1. Of course Paul’s words are about a lifestyle of sacrifice and submission, using our physical lives to serve God, going where He wants and doing what He wants and using our days, our time, for Him… But the symbolic laying down of our bodies is also a pleasing offering to Him. We don’t do it enough – especially in public meetings! What a display of submission and humility to actually lie facedown in worship in front of other people 😉 Yet the choice to do that just for Him in the secret place is as valuable – an offering of the heart with no-one else to see: God loves that!
I don’t want to get my priorities wrong but I often do: as I wrote yesterday, distraction is the opposite of focus! An old Sabio song says, “I will be more popular with You than with my friends”: it is amazing that days turn out much better, happier, successful, as if oiled by His grace, when I let the Lord have the lead.
What now, Lord? Facebook or facedown?!