Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Rant, Part II

When exactly did “worship” cease to be a verb and become a gerund? Even worse, when did it become an intransitive verb? Why is that people gather together for worship, and then begin “our worship,” and say they worship without any sense of actual homage given to any specific god? Or worse, in worship people speak and sing about how they have been, are, or are “fixin’ to” worship God, but don’t actually get around to doing it. Why do we sing about “kneeling down” before God but never actually kneel? Or if they are worshipping, they believe that means “Singing songs about God and me that I like and make feel good inside and hearing a lecture that is inspiring.” Since when is that worship?

Since the Reformation, I suppose. Lutherans are guilty of over-emphasing the priority of the sermon. But other Reformed bodies go even further. When they teach that God is not physically present in the Sacrament and the Word of God and knowledge of it is pre-eminent, what happens on Sunday becomes a lecture and some inspiration. There is no God there to worship, and what happens in church buildings is cerebral and intangible.

I hear the objections: God is everywhere! And God is spirit. Even Jesus said we are to worship in “Spirit and truth.” “The Word of God endures forever.” But listening to a lecture is not worship. Praying is worship. Standing and bowing before the God who has come in the Sacrament is worship. Offering God our sacrifice of praise is worship. If hymns are not understood to be prayers to the Almighty, I really think they could just be songs.