The Red Light You Cannot Do Without

Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
loving look at me, your High God,
above politics, above everything.
— Psalm 46:9-10 The Message

Red Light/Green Light is a child's game I loved to play.

On any given evening our neighborhood gang played Red Light/Green Light in our backyard. The person who was "It" stood twenty yards away, back turned to the barefooted thoroughbreds just waiting to gallop across the green grass.

"It" would yell, "Green Light!" And the herd would thunder toward her. But then, just moments later she would shout, "Red Light!" In the instant it took her to turn around, we had to become motionless. If we tilted, tottered, or fell--we were out!

Since all of us were in a race to win, we didn't want to hear the words, "Red Light." Hmmm . . . things haven't changed much. Stopping for red lights is still frustrating.

If the highway is a metaphor for life, I don't want red lights on my autobahn! Taking the time to stop is a luxury I don't have. But when I open God's Word, I discover that taking time for worship is a necessity I cannot do without.

Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the house of the LORD! Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the LORD! May the LORD bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth!
— Psalm 134

In his book, A Long Obedience In The Same Direction, Eugene Peterson writes:

The main thing is not work for the Lord; it is not suffering in the name of the Lord; it is not witnessing to the Lord; it is not teaching Sunday school for the Lord; it is not being responsible for the sake of the Lord in the community; it is not keeping the Ten Commandments; not loving your neighbor; not observing the golden rule. "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever." Or in the vocabulary of Psalm 134, "Bless the LORD."

The game Red Light/Green Light may have been child's play, but worship is not. You were made to worship:

  • The Psalmist writes, “Worship the Lord” (Psalm 96).
  • Theologian Leslie Newbigin said, “The weekly gathering for worship is by far the most important thing we do.”
  • Paul David Tripp writes, "Corporate worship is designed to instill a hope deep within you that cannot be shaken by chaos in your circumstances or relationships."

Last Sunday at Spanish River, I mentioned that we worship in three ways:

  • Corporate worship: The church gathering to connect with God weekly.
  • Personal worship: The church taking time to connect with God daily.
  • Vocational worship: The church living out their lives as an act of worship.

We need all three.

  • Not because it is convenient.
  • Not because we feel like it.
  • Not because it doesn't conflict with other plans.

We need it because we were made for it. We also need it because, in worship, God reorients our lives to who He is and what He is doing in our world and in our lives.

Stop the rush. Stop the hurry. Step out of traffic. Take a long loving look at your God.

He deserves it. Your soul needs it.

Come, bless the LORD . . .



  • This Sunday at Spanish River we will be focusing on Vocational Worship, living out all of life as an act of worship to God. Join us at 9 or 10:45.
  • "The main thing . . ." is from Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience In The Same Direction (paperback), page 192.