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Grammatical Error. . .or kNot

Grammatical Error. . .or kNot

The song that populated in my mind for after the sermon this week is “O Come to the Altar.” I went to the file room and found the previously printed music. I love the many volunteers who have served in the office and helped organize 4 file drawers full of songs. I found my favorite chord sheet, pages 1 and 2. And then I had to chuckle. You see, on page 2, the name of the song isn’t printed, so one of my volunteers wrote the name of the song at the top of the page. On page 2, I read, “O Come to the Alter.”

My grammatical instinct immediately pulled out a pen to change ‘Alter’ to ‘Altar.’ My mind went to my sister-in-law’s favorite mug, “I’m silently correcting your grammar.” And then I thought, “I should have kept it just as written.” To make an alteration in clothing is to change it. To ‘alter’ is to change and sometimes it’s to change in a significant way. And isn’t that what church and the altar is all about? God is making alterations on us. Mending us, ripping things out, applying new stitches in us that are sometimes beautifully decorative and sometimes painfully piercing. Yet God is doing a work in us and that’s what matters. The hope is, every day, I'm looking more like Jesus.

I’m a part of a quilt group and this Christmas everyone was given a block to sew. Little did I know they were all sewing blocks for me. Without knowing about this, I was making a block for my own quilt. The block was difficult with pieces pointing in lots of directions and I sewed my block together wrong. I asked if there was any more material, as my least favorite thing is seam ripping. They said there was no more material, this was all I had to work with. The quilters laughed as they all had problems with their difficult blocks and an immediate chant began that still rings in my ears two months later, “RIP IT OUT! RIP IT OUT!” With the help of these quilters my block was ripped apart and resewn correctly.

What happens when we don’t allow God to make alterations in us? Just watch the news. That’s what happens. Sometimes there are things inside of me, like bitterness and unforgiveness that need to be ripped out by the Lord and replaced with the forgiveness and healing presence of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes my heart is tied in knots and the Lord in great grace and patience unties them and sets me free.

I come to the altar every day, as I need daily alterations in my attitude, in my heart and mind, in my soul. And God fills me afresh and anew with peace, purpose, hope, and great joy. Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” My prayer back to the Lord from that verse is ‘alter me to your plans and purposes for my heart, my mind, my soul. Have your way in my life, Lord.’

To come to the altar is to change positions. I go from standing and walking to kneeling. Changing posture helps my internal posture to come under the authority of God, as I agree God’s way is better than my way. God’s infinite mind is better than my finite mind. God’s plan is better than my plan.

At the altar, I lay my life before the Lord. I give to the Lord the things that bother me, the things the frustrate me, the people who need hope, my dreams and hopes, the situations I cannot change, the situations I can impact, my heartaches, my burdens, my joys. I hold nothing back. I tell God everything, as God already knows it all. God hears. God answers. And sometimes the answer is. . .God has altered me. And that’s a good thing. Listen to “O Come to the Altar” here.

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