This is my second post in a row on worship, though I think the subject matter is notably dissimilar to yesterday. I’m taking a chance and going with this since my response to yesterday’s post was not what I anticipated (namely people didn’t shred me)– so this time around I’m really trying to get people to disagree with me.
In church as a kid I remember hearing about Heaven’s streets of gold and mansions with many, many rooms. I suppose they roads and mansions were seldom used as the idea of Heaven I was presented with was Jesus radiating an unimaginable glow while every single Christian ever stood before him in white robes singing continual praise to God. I imagined Jesus with his eyes closed, a satisfied smile upon his face and head slightly tilted up as he finally receives all the glory he deserves.
I once told a friend that Heaven sound really boring. He was afraid to agree, because you’re supposed to stoked about worshiping God forever.
I suppose that partially this idea of Heaven was boring to me because I’ve never been a big worship music guy. Like many people, I worship better on my mountain bike narrowly squeezing through trees than in an auditorium singing songs. Even with the best band playing the most emotional songs it doesn’t do much for me.
So here is where I’m going to get controversial. Worship time is key to just about every church service – most services are broken down into two main events of worship and teaching. This would make it seem like the praise and worship of God is key, and I don’t totally disagree with that. However…
Some of our worship seems more like praises people would offer up to the agricultural gods hundreds or thousands of years ago. What I mean is that the idea of bowing down and giving praises to our God seems to be more rooted in old school religion than the way of Jesus. He taught an idea of a servant God who cared far more about his children, his people, than he did himself. Jesus himself didn’t seem particularly interested in praise, even shying away from it, and you can probably come up with elaborate reasons explaining this, but I still think it’s telling.
To me, God’s nature is one of servitude and humility, and of caring for others before himself. I almost imagine God not terribly interested in our worship. I think at first when hear of God this way it seems like an injustice, like its a violation of God himself – that “NO! This can’t be – he is to be praised always.” But in some ways I think we hold onto ideas of religion and praising the gods to appease them, forgetting that Jesus spoke of a God very unlike the gods.
I’m not in the mood to go into all the examples that could support this idea (real quick: Jesus saying “learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy not sacrifice'”; go reconcile before coming to the altar and the first shall be last), mostly because I think my readers are very acquainted with the gospels.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t praise God. That’d be silly, of course. But I think we overemphasize worship, forgetting that God is selfless and that he’d rather we go help someone out than sit “in front of his throne” raining praises down on him. Worship of God, in Jesus’ mind, is servitude toward others, and not songs of praise.
So, am I nuts? Do you get the point I’m trying to make (I rewrote this post several times trying to get it right)? What do you think about worship? Does the idea of it seem incongruous with God’s selfless nature?