Worship: Wear your Crash Helmets
Worship is about remembering…remembering who we are and who God is; remembering the source and purpose of our lives. Lent began with the simple act of remembering on Ash Wednesday: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” That’s not a morbid allusion to death. It’s an affirmation that we are creatures, and God is the creator. We are dependent on God.
This Lent, our fourth practice in Bp. Curry’s Way of Love is Worship. “Going to church,” as I grew up calling it, is so ordinary for Christians that we risk losing its meaning and power. Worship helps us remember. We remember our biblical stories. We remember to express our needs, for loved ones in trouble, for the world around us. We remember to confess our sins and failings to God. And we remember, through bread and wine, the amazing gift of Jesus, who walked among us as human, who endures suffering as we do, and who leads the way into fullness of life. And we remember our mission: to work in the world as Christ’s hands and feet.
Worship may seem quaint or passé in today’s hurried, high-pressure world. But a life without a clear purpose and destiny is a futile life. It can also be a lonely life.
Annie Dillard is a wickedly insightful Christian writer. Here’s her take on worship today:
Why do people in church seem like cheerful, brainless tourists on a packaged tour of the Absolute? …Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it?
The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping God may wake someday and take offense, or the waking God may draw us to where we can never return.
Yes, the waking God will draw us to a new place, from which we can never return. But that place is exactly where we need to be…on the journey, walking the way of love. JBM