Monday, July 03, 2006

What worship is...and isn't

I've recently started (again) the book Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. It's a book on the attributes of God and written in response to what Tozer calls
the lose of the concept of majesty from the popular religious mind.
Tozer says that
The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men.
His belief is that this was not done intentionally but unintentionally and slowly over time, and that her unawareness makes the situation all the more tragic. Reading this book (which is very short and easy to read by the way) resonates so deeply with my heart as I think about how to help people understand true worship. I'm not only talking about singing songs or coming to church but how do we get to a place where we are struck with the reality of God. What could happen with our lives or our communities if we lived in light of the reality of God? I think it is here that the problem lies. We know, at least in theory, that to be fully engaged with and in the person of Christ, our lives would be drastically different. I think we know that to get there would, in addition, require surrender; a handing over of our lives and our comforts and our dreams to God. For some reason though, we are afraid. We are terrified that if we were to give our lives to God and open ourselves up to be changed it would mean the entire world seeing me for who I am and could mean a drastic change in my world.
What if I surrender myself to God and I don't like what he does with my life?
What if it means being uncomfortable?
Does God know better what I need than I do?
These questions are the crux of Tozer's book and I believe the reason that we can't give ourselves over to good in worship. Simply put we don't trust Him.We don't believe that God can provide for our futures, so we try and make it happen on our own and pray that He'll bless our efforts. We don't come to Church or walk through life with an expectancy of meeting the Lord, because we don't really believe He's there, or if we do believe He's there, we don't think He can do anything for us. Tozer says that this innacurate view of God is the reason for all of our theological inaccuracies and morever, the reason for all of our sin. Oh, that we would think rightly about God. Would we continue to run to T.V., sex, money and any thing else if we understood that God and God alone is the source of infinite satisfaction and Joy? If we understood fully or at least more fully, that God is capable of anything and desires for our good, would we trust Him more with our lives? Worship, whether through music or interaction with others or any other activity should be the joyful expression of our hearts celebrating the person of God. We should at all times be amazed and overwhelmed at His willingness to be huge yet here and His passionate care for us, His people. I suspect however, that the definition of worship I just gave is not the one we would all use to describe our lives.

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