Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Well, What Do You Expect?
A clear plexiglas wall, that everyone is trying to pretend isn't there.
The Church, the Body of Christ as a whole, has grown comfortable with this unseen reality.
Even worse than the fact that it is accepted, is the fact that it is what is expected.
And when expectation is sucked out of the atmosphere, true worship suffocates.
Our words set to melody are canisters for life, but they depart from our lips empty, void of the ability to resuscitate and revive because they rise from malnourished, power starved lives bogged down in the pride of mediocrity...and viciously unwilling to let go.
The stench of death permeates the room.
The sweet aroma of living sacrifice is painfully absent.
And we label it "worship".
So...we grip the pews,
gripe about the form and formula,
gasp when the unexpected makes an appearance, and
gawk at those hungry enough to embrace it.
No style or form of music or service can diminish or enhance our One True God.
He is the same yesterday, today and forever.(Hebrew 13:8)
God is not more worthy of praise in one setting than He is in another.
So why, then, is worship with abandon an endangered species?
We are more dazzled by the how and the what....and we have forgotten the Who that leads us to the why.
From traditional, to contemporary, to modern, to private...it may look different...but the pattern of low expectation amongst the individual Believer persists.
Platforms, performance, pleasantries, and practicalities become paramount.
They sneak in and taint the path.
These thieves allow us to see the way to worshiping "in Spirit and in Truth"(John 4), but scream out caution to our flesh that embracing anticipation is a path to reputation suicide.
We are warned by their presence that crying out in authentic expectation could possibly lead to an avalanche on this mountain of religious comfort we've created.
And so...we secure what we see as our plexiglas wall of protection, when in fact, we have just constructed a spiritual prison.
Predictable, proper, popular, and protected-this prison starts to look like home.
We take up the residence of limits.
We are consoled by the false comfort in familiarities.
Anticipation is a fading memory, if not a term completely undefined.
We expect nothing more than the prison we've constructed.
We are callous.
And the scariest part?
We are pleased.
After all, isn't that what authentic Christ Worship is all about: our pleasure?
What do you expect?
"The Lord says:
These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is made up only of rules taught by men."
"God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship."
"Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
'Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts...'"