The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.

Thursday morning at Starbucks. I’m sitting with my second cup of coffee and an hour or so to myself. I have headphones on, in order to drown out the noisy group on the other side of the coffee shop. Between songs, I can hear their laughter echoing around the small building.

After awhile, I give up on not listening to the other group. I take my headphones off, and intently listen. Now, I’m on the other side of the coffee shop. A speaker playing the house music is directly above my head. I can hear every part of the conversation, and it quickly becomes clear that this is some church group planning out a service. I’m not sure if it’s a group of youth leaders or leaders for a regular church, but I can hear them planning, talking about music and powerpoint and videos.

A woman with two kids comes up to them, obviously late but part of the group. They catch her up on what’s going on. After two cups of coffee I get up to go to the bathroom, moving closer to the group, and the new woman says loudly in surprise, “You’re actually going to do worship!?”

I talked with Tim this Monday about the Gathering and he told me the scripture — or the idea — was the Great Shema — the passage where God declares that we must love him with all our heart and soul and strength. I’ve been thinking about it this week, about how I don’t love God with all my heart and soul and strength, about how I love Him when it’s convenient — in the morning with my bible or praying before bed in the evening with my wife. Most of my day, however, is about what I need to get done and what I want to do, how I want to spend my time and money. I think loving God with all of who I am means loving Him at all times, not designated “God times” and means loving Him from my gut, when it’s hard and inconvenient and I’d rather be watching television or reading a magazine or doing anything but thinking about God.

I realize what this woman meant by the phrase, “You’re actually going to do worship” — she meant that they were actually going to sing. The problem is, at least for myself, that I label singing — or other things like praying and reading my Bible even — as “worship.” This inherently means that driving to work and eating dinner and drinking coffee at Starbucks is not worship. I don’t know if the woman I overheard has this problem, too, but her language makes it seem like she does. And the deeper problem is that when I worship only at specific times, I’m not really loving God with all my heart and soul and strength. I think loving God with all I am doesn’t mean scheduling Him into my day. It doesn’t mean fitting him in, like scheduling a dentist appointment or fitting in time to exercise.

Loving God with all I am means, for me, finding him in every part of my day. His day. It means not looking at days and time as mine, because it is God’s gift, to be spent as He desires. It means worshipping as I eat and drive and talk with an old friend. When I do this, and I’m not very good at it, I don’t have to turn into worship mode on Sunday morning, and worship God by singing, because I’m always in worship mode. Singing with other people is just one way to show it.

I want to love God with all my heart and soul and strength. And I don’t do it well, and don’t yet know how to totally do it. I do know, that when I only worship him at certain times that I am not loving him with all of myself. And I know that I try, and mess up, and look at my time and money as my time and money, and fail again and again. But I am trying to love Him with all of myself, trying from a place deep in my gut — not just on Sunday mornings but on Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings at Starbucks.

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