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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

"A Business Bath"
Date Posted: February 3, 2007

When my brothers and I were young we loved to take long baths, bring in all the toys and run the tub full of water. But once in awhile, like after a long day or on a Saturday night when Mom was preparing stuff for Sunday dinner and Dad needed to prepare his Sunday school lesson we were ordered to take a "business bath."

I thought this was a punishment listed in the parent handbook, but apparently my parents made it up. I know this because when my oldest son was about three I told him he was going to have a business bath and explained what that meant -- take care of the business of getting clean -- no toys, no extra time, no extra water! When my husband overheard me, he laughed.

"A business bath! What's that? Did you make that up?"
I replied, "No! Didn't you ever have to take a business bath?"
At which point he launched into a lie about his deprived childhood and how they had to share the same bath water. Yeah, right!

Anyway, I now punish my kids when I'm too tired for the strung-out, full-tub, 27-toy bath by saying, "Tonight we're having a business bath!"
This is met with much moaning and whining, quickly followed by begging to read longer since the baths won't take long.

I believe worship can be like a spiritual bath. We pour ourselves out, we pray for a renewed spirit. But sometimes I think worship is relegated to a "business bath" level. We show up and include all the required elements, then move on the rest of the day and something that will be more fun.

How sad! I know this does not apply to all people or all congregations, but most of us have been guilty of going through the motions of worship. The songs didn't move me that day. The sound system squealed. The kids behind me whispered or rattled papers or dropped things. Someone played music too loud during the Lord's Supper. No one played any music during the Lord's Supper. The auditorium was too hot. The sermon didn't seem to apply to me. I had to serve up front, in back or in the nursery so I couldn't get into the proper frame of mind.

Worship is one of the few things we can offer God -- He already has it all! Sometimes I am ashamed when I get distracted by one of the things listed above, or begin to think about the afternoon or next week or anything other than God as I "worship". I need to be focused -- and not in a stoic, solemn way that lacks joy. I need to come before the Lord with gladness and pour myself out through praise, scripture reading, prayer and meditation. I need to listen to His words spoken and take them in and allow Him to bless me.
Just as kids love to splash around in a full tub and take their time getting clean, so should I splash around in songs of praise and scripture and enjoy a time of renewal and fellowship!

"Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs." -- Psalms 100:2

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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