I’ll admit, I’m an Episcopal (or should I say Anglican?). Our Presiding Bishop elect recently opened a prayer addressing “Mother Jesus.” Huh? I recently ran across an interesting article, written by an Orthodox Priest, that discusses this and other related topics.
There is a struggle I sometimes face. I love the tradition of ancient liturgy, but I also love the power of a more contemporary service. What type of worship is correct? Is there a correct answer?
Worship should be one of the most beautiful experiences in our existence. However, generational and cultural gaps have created opposing views of beauty. The sacred love songs of one group are the irreverent bawls of another. What moves one person turns another off.
In worship we seek to express that beauty which stands outside the realm of opinion; the transcendent Excellence that is so impressive we can’t help forgetting our petty spiritual preferences.
Christ is that beauty. So much of our worship is focused on how we feel and what we will do for God that we never allow ourselves to be captivated by the beauty of Jesus.
In an epic moment it time, the eternal God of heaven stepped down from His majestic throne and became united with human flesh. He is Emmanuel, God with us. Perfect beauty in the form of an impoverished and hated man: a paradox that will delight our souls forever.
In worship we long to feel the passion for Christ we know He deserves. While trying our hardest to honor Christ we have inadvertently taken the focus off of Christ and placed it on ourselves.
This happens because our inspiration in worship cannot come from within ourselves. True worship can only come when we take our eyes off ourselves and focus them on the One whose Passion gave us a reason to worship.
My wife attended a Bible study last summer that focused on John and Stasi Eldridge’s book, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul.
It claims to be the “Wild at Heart” for women. I must admit, I am not a fan of Wild at Heart, despite numerous pleas from Christian friends to read it. I have read it, at least part of it. And it just makes me mad. I don’t like mountain climbing or fly fishing, and Eldridge makes me feel like that is a bad thing. My adventures are on the athletic field, and I am as competitive as they come. That is my “wildness,” putting everything on the line for my team.
Another point of contention I have for Eldridge is his idea that Christian men should want to “rescue” their wives. From what? Danger? Yes, I will happily give up my life for Mrs. Everyday. But I seem to think that Eldridge is referring to a man being the spiritual savior of his house. Most days I need to be rescued much more than Mrs. Everyday does, so who am I to save her?
I guess that is what all of this boils down to, what I call “Pep Rally Christianity.” To some people, being “saved” is a feeling. If so, then I don’t feel very saved some days. Is that really what it is all about? Can we go to a conference, hear a dynamic speaker, feel something in us and know that at that point we are Christians?
Or is it more likely that we realize we are sinners, and that even when we screw up and feel like dirt, God is there to rescue us?