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No time for distractions
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    I was talking to a colleague Monday and ended up in a remarkable conversation that went from exercise to distractions and eventually to Christianity. Hey! I don’t plan these meetings. They just seem to happen. Let’s call them Providence.
    There was a question, “What’s wrong with including such good, useful and healthy stuff like yoga, meditation, and even basketball in worship? What’s wrong with opening our minds, practicing free association and throwing in some pushups all at the same time?” Digress time.
    I used to have a well-worn copy of C.S. Lewis’ novel, “The Screwtape Letters,” which I unfortunately loaned out and never got back. It’s all about an upper-level demon called Screwtape who is mentoring an inexperienced tempter named Wormwood. Young Wormwood likes to tempt hopeful Christians toward the dark side by using very exciting and very bad sins. They don’t seem to work, and old Screwtape tries to teach his minion the old tried and true methods: “... the safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without surprises, without warnings and without signals.”
    Now let’s go back to the conversation. My understanding of church is a place where worshippers gather to focus on God, study His Word and be sent back out into the world as God’s missionaries to share the Good News in a world of darkness. From my perspective, even in the church there are more than enough distractions. Has anyone ever counted the bricks on the wall behind the pulpit? There’s a spot that has needed painting for the past five years. That guy needs a haircut and too many women go to the same beauty shop. The pastor always has three points, one lame joke and talks so long that the church folks down the street have already beat us to the restaurant and there’ll be a line two miles long to get in. What was the sermon? Something about someone else’s sins, I guess. Oh, a bit too much meddling as far as I’m concerned.
    The simple answer to the questions can be, “Even the most harmless activities can distract our attention from the purpose of worship.” Old Screwtape writes to his student Wormwood, “God wants men and women to be concerned with what they do. Our work is to keep them so busy with worldly distractions that they don’t have time to think, let alone do.”
    We come to church to listen, to be taught, to be warned, to be challenged, to be prepared and to go out. We haven’t much time for distractions, so we must concentrate on the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer and His Word, “The law of the Lord is perfect ... the testimony of the Lord is sure ... the Word of the Lord is absolute!”
    We pray, “Let the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
    Thanks, God!

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