Why do we worship? Is it entertainment worship for God or something quite different?
All the many ways we can get to know God are by way of analogy and metaphor and simile. His Being and activities are reflected to us through nature, in the same way the moon reflects the light of the sun. The moon has no light of its own, even though we say things like “moon light” and “moon-lighting.” God is our fortress, our rock, our fountain of living water. All these are analogies that reflect truth.
One analogy that we have is of God sitting on a throne, ruling and reigning over the universe, sending angels to do His will. This is certainly a biblical analogy that is quite revealing.
However, since all analogies limp, let’s look at this one and see how it can, at times, not be helpful. God, of course, has no body, so He cannot be literally sitting on a throne. There is also the fact that He is everywhere in the universe and not confined to one location, even heaven.
The End of Entertainment Worship
During worship, if we think of God as being on a throne, watching us sing and praise and even dance and raise our hands to Him, that puts Him in the passive position of the audience and we would be in the active position of the performers or worshipers. However, I believe honest worship is not an activity, but a response.
A better analogy is that we are the audience and God is the Performer, doing a million awesome things, all at the same time and all around the universe. He is birthing the doe’s calf in the forest, even while He is leading the whales to their winter feeding-grounds. He is sustaining the man who was fired, and encouraging the student to take a break and rest a bit. The list of things God is doing, day and night, just goes on and on. Jesus said, “My father works and I work.”
Entertainment Worship vs. Response Worship
If we get a glimpse of His brilliance and power and kindness and gentleness and humility and love and wondrous deeds, our hearts will melt, our minds will be amazed and we will spontaneously respond with praise and adoration and thanksgiving. It will just be natural and genuine and real, not out of duty or obligation or commitment. We might just rise to our feet and applaud wildly.
We have all had many experiences of spontaneous outbursts of praise. “O, my God,” we might say when seeing a beautiful sunset. “Wow,” we might say when hearing a really lovely song or a bird singing at the bedroom window.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “We imagine the Divine as distant and inaccessible, whereas, in fact, we live steeped in its burning layers.” We are already living inside of God. We are surrounded by His Presence. He fills these temples we call “bodies.” We call Him “Emmanuel,” God with us. Jesus said, “I AM with you always.” There is now no separation and there cannot be any. We are very much like fish in the ocean, living in water and filled with water.
I believe the answer to consistently having genuine, honest, real, authentic worship is in the worldview that we engender and the theological worldview that we espouse.
- God really is working all things for good.
- The Holy Spirit really is bringing us into all truth, even if it is slowly.
- The New Jerusalem is descending upon the earth already.
- The earth is full of the glory of the Lord.
- The knowledge of the Lord is beginning to cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.
- It really is “finished,” as Jesus said.
The teachers and preachers who are building their messages and their world views on a few Scriptures that appear to be negative and fearful, need to read further and study harder…or they need to be replaced. Perhaps they need to stop getting their news from the newspapers, and get their news from the Bible…it’s called “Good News.”
- God really is love and does everything out of love.
- He really is sustaining us and doing a great job.
- There really is, right here, a dimension much like a fifth dimension, Jesus called “The kingdom of God.”
- There really is a “heaven on earth.”
Who started teaching we have to die to go to heaven? Why is that still being taught? Jesus came to bring heaven to earth. “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, ON EARTH.” We are here to take possession of the earth, which, by the way, is full of the glory of the Lord.