This time last year we had been staying with my parents for a couple of weeks since we’d sold our home in Tennessee and were waiting to close on the house we live in now, two states away, in Florida. While we were there I was doing a devotional on the Bible app on my phone and it had to do with the phrase Coram Deo which means- living before the face of God. As I read and thought about that phrase I started to get excited. I know that I refer back to college a lot and I’m going to again because that was the time when I developed my thoughts and philosophy of life and ministry. At that time, “worship as a lifestyle” was really popular. Worship as a lifestyle is the thought that worship isn’t just us standing in a worship service, hands raised and singing but it’s also what we do after the music stops. I didn’t want to just be a singing worshipper- I wanted then and I still do now- to be one who worships God with my life.
I wondered then what does a life living before the face of God look like? For me I’d have to say that it can’t be some mystical, unrealistic pursuit. I think back to a scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where a long line of monks are walking and chanting something along the lines of, Pie Jesu domine, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and then they’d smack themselves in the head with a board. Thankfully I understand that my holiness is found in Jesus and requires no self flagellation. Coram Deo in contrast has to be real and honest because life isn’t clean and tidy. And it changes season to season. When my kids were very small Coram Deo looked like making sure they had fresh diapers, full bellies and time at the park. Today it’s making sure that Chloe gets her biology done, that Halle has done her math and making time for Amanda and Daniel to come over to hang out. Even though I refer back to college often I have to say that my philosophy of what life and ministry should be has changed a lot. Back then I thought that the absolute only answer was to be on staff at a church full time. The concept of lay ministry was an affront to me mostly because I was felt called to full time ministry, as a single mom I really needed to be able to support my daughter and I, and my idealized view of life was very, very narrow. Fast forward 20 years (almost) and I see how important the ministry of being a mom is. I see how important the ministry of being a wife is. I see the value of being able to pitch in and help those that are in full-time ministry to help make their load lighter. When I’m aware that I am constantly living before the face of God my life means more than just hours that I might log at an office but it’s the sum total of what I do day in and day out.
My current season is as a stay at home mom, homeschooling my children. It has been something that I’ve never felt quite suited to but have known that it was the right thing to do. I also make sure we don’t starve, that everyone has clothes to wear and I keep the girls on track with their chores the girls since house cleaning is a team effort- thankfully, because my housekeeping skills leave something to be desired. So my biggest challenge in making sure that I’m living before the face of God well is in managing my time. I don’t think that God expects me to be busy from the time I get up until I fall into bed exhausted at night. But I also need to not let distraction steal away hours and hours doing things that just don’t matter. Coram Deo isn’t glamorous, it’s real and it’s worship or at least it can be. What I do in my life day in and day out matters. What you do in your life day in and day out matter- no matter how trivial or frustrating it might seem to be right now.
I’d like to challenge you today to think of your life in terms of Coram Deo. What does that look like for you. Are there things that you would change? Are there things that God is asking you to change?
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1