Friday, March 6, 2009

Fire Distinguisher

I caught the much hyped U2 concert on GMA this morning. 145 million albums, 22 grammys... the list of laurels goes on & on. People went crazy even before they took the stage. Bono appeared with his signature style... instructing the crowd to raise their hands, make the peace sign, to sway & shout... The folks at the venue & people watching on jumbotrons across the city participated without hesitation...

I couldn’t help but think of mega church worship sessions or the well sponsored Christian conferences that attract throngs of... “worshippers”(?). They have their headlining performers, their fans, their special effects, their products... There’s no denying there’s something about being in an arena with thousands of people that incites a sense of euphoria... a sense of connectedness with something greater than ourselves...

I wondered, what's the difference between a U2 concert & one of those “worship” sessions? What or who do the "worshippers" come to see or hear or feel? Its no secret that some of us have come to expect the same things from our worship times that we’d get at a show... Good, loud music, lots of excitement, audience participation... maybe even some special effects with lighting & video. We want a t-shirt to prove that we’ve been there or an autographed CD to prove we stood face to face with so & so. Give us some paraphanalia, a sense of ownership in an enterprise that’s bigger than ourselves... we’ll support it as long as it sounds good, feels good, looks good to us.

But when the music fades & the throngs go home, when the t-shirts get ratty & the bracelets rot off, what then? Who will thrill us when the empty stage fails to entice us? Where is our focus? Will the expectations we’ve grown comfortable with prove to be obstacles to the Spirit & Truth God desires?

Faith as small as a mustard seed can apparently move a mountain. A single lost coin, one lost sheep, is cause for rejoicing in the eyes of God... He finds worth in the simple things... but do we? Does worship have to be a production in order for us to enter in? Do we “worship” just to receive sensory blessings? If a seed of faith, our last coin, or the wool on our sheepish backs is enough for God, is it enough for us?

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