WORSHIPPING THE BOSS
Why do we go to church?
Well, let’s ignore the fact that a huge percentage of us don’t. Ask regular churchgoers why they faithfully attend every Sunday and you will get a variety of reasons but tops amongst them will almost inevitably be, “To worship God,” or “To praise God.”
In countries where Christianity is persecuted, followers may gather together for protection, or to draw strength from their fellowship. In churches active in their community the congregation may be planning the best way to spread the word and minister to the flock. But, let’s face it, most churches settle for Praise and Worship.
Why? Well, for a start it’s an easy thing to do. It involves you turning up and singing. You don’t even need to sing. You can simply move your mouth and, literally, pay lip service to it all. Then you can justifiably take your place amongst the other right-thinking, right-behaving members of the community. Until next Sunday.
A God that would be satisfied with that must be incredibly easy to please.
Easy to fool, even. But not everyone’s miming. Some belt out those hallelujahs from the heart. For many, it’s the high point of the week.
So, why don’t they do it more often? Sure, God is wonderful. There’s no one half as deserving of praise as him. But if it was anyone other than God, we’d look askance of the practice. When was the last time you saw someone go to their boss’s home, or their parents’ house, or the flat of the guy who did you a really good turn, and stands outside singing about how wonderful they were?
We don’t as a rule.
Which isn’t to say there aren’t people out there who would like us to worship them like that. But we’d see them as vain, maybe a bit self-obsessed. Definitely not to be encouraged. What we find objectionable in others we often turn a blind eye to when it comes to God. Wiping people out, for example.
The God of the Old Testament may well have appreciated a bit of worshipping.
In fact, some folk thinks the only reason mankind was created was to glorify God.
So, He’s the creator of the universe, and not exactly alone. There are Angels and other types around him to pat him on the back and say, “Good job, God!” But that’s not enough. He goes and creates a whole people just to sing his praises.
It’s like Ted Turner, or some other media mogul, setting up a new television channel, dedicated to how wonderful Ted Turner is!
If you see God as some old fellow in a robe with a beard, sitting on a cloud looking out for you (and a few of your friends) then, by all means, worship him if you think it will keep him happy and on your side.
If, on the other hand, you can’t accept the image of God tuning in to a celestial Songs of Praise every Sunday, you might be one of those folks who think God prefers a kindness done to a stranger in need to all the well-rehearsed hymns in the world.
There are those who believe God doesn’t need his ego massaged. In fact, love has no ego. A God of creation and a God of love will be with us, and in us, always. He will be in the path you walk, He will be in the trees by the roadside and he will certainly be in the shifty-looking character you meet along the way.
Praise God in your heart, and in a song if you feel like it.
It can be in church, but it can also be under a rainy sky, in a bustling crowd in fact, once you come to know God truly, you can’t help but praise. You will find praise in the very soul of you, all you have to do is let it out, wherever you are.
Sing a hymn if you like but don’t make that and your Sunday worship the definition and reason for your faith. We are here for more than that.
If you can’t find the God in your enemy, or some down and out, or your neighbor, then you will be singing to something not too far removed from paganism, a God who must be kept sweet or thunderbolts will flash.
Do the work, don’t just sing about it. Take a chance and step away from the pew. Walk out of your comfort zone, trusting that your steps will be directed where they need to go. Reach out to another one of His creations, perhaps creation blanketed by real-world demons, who may seem very far from Heaven. Find the divine in him or her, let them know it exists, that is love and it is there for them. Bringing such a soul even a fraction closer to their creator and the God of Love will praise you.