Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Homily 11: On Worship and Reality (as preached by an orthodox rebel)

"O Come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. [...] For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods." Ps. 95:1, 3

Worship is a matter of reality, a matter of seeing things as they really are. Much of what passes for "worship" these days, however, is more about illusions than reality. We come asking that our "needs" be met, i.e., our tastes and wishes be satiated. That is not seeing things as they really are. It is not seeing things as they really are to demand that the king on his throne moves to your whims at your entrance. It is not seeing things as they are to demand of the roaring lion that he purrs at your pleasure. Likewise, it is not seeing things as they are to subject God to personal preference. God is as He is; He is as He has revealed Himself. No amount of subjectivism will ever change that.

This is not a question of being uncompassionate; this is a question of reality, i.e., what do you place at the center? Regardless of our good intentions, when once we place the "needs" of the people at the center of worship, we have made our "needs" the object of worship. Thus, worship transforms into self-worship, which is illusion and not reality. We must not forget that the one true need of the people is God. As Jesus told Martha that the needful thing was to sit at His feet and hear His words, so too the needful thing in worship is to sit at the feet of God and hear of the great works that He has done. There is no satisfaction, no "need" truly met, until God is the cornerstone of everything: our worship, our preaching, and our very lives.

-Jon Vowell (c)

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