Sunday, September 23, 2018
Who needs it?
The reality is that for a long time the focus of worship among many churches has moved away from God and the means of grace through which He has promised to work to the Christian. When personal preference for worship or musical style becomes the focus, then we are powerfully affirming their supposition that worship is mainly about them. If they are happy, then God is happy. When we talk about worship style or even congregation as being a good fit for that person or their family, then we are telling them that what drives everything is how they feel and the job of pastor and congregation is to support their feelings. When we make worship entertainment or sermons practical how to advice about getting what they want from God or anyone else or when we allow them to see the church as a spiritual buffet to appeal to taste, we are saying that none of this is all that important -- certainly not as important as it is fun, easy, rewarding, entertaining, or useful -- all of which are determined by, who else, the person. When we strip the sacred from the space and define the space by the same technology that entertains them at home, we are admitting that we have little to offer except a repackaged and rehashed version of the stuff they already have, they already value according to taste, preference, and desire, and they trade in or switch out as taste or desire changes (sort of like marriage).
In other words, we have become enemies of God and of His purpose by co-opting worship for us and our wants and our preferences and by substituting feeling for truth as the great judge of what is good, right, beneficial, and holy. When our theology of worship has devolved into worship that is no longer centered upon God and His means of grace, what God has done and does through the Word and Sacraments, the only thing left to justify church at all is how we like it, what we think we get out of it, or how it appeals to our personal preference and taste. And from then on, it is a constant battle to get ahead of the curve lest we fall behind and get judged irrelevant. It is the triumph of spirituality over religion (the truth religion of Christ and Him crucified). Who needs the church in all of this?