The catalyst this week was Kurt Vonnegut, who is famous for being a humanist. But he's not an agressive atheist like Hitchens or Dawkins; he just wants people to do good for the sake of doing good. Which I see as pretty close to God's call. In this speech at Albion College, "How to get a job like mine," he said the following about creativity: go home tonight and write a 6 line poem. Make it rhyme because you're not playing if there's no rules. Make it as good as you can. And then tear it up into tiny pieces. Tell no one. Distribute it among widely scattered trash receptacles. Then you will have done a creative act. No money!
That really struck a chord in me, because I was right with him until he said tear it up. Then my sensibilities were offended... but the time, or I could share it with someone, tight? or can't I just twitter it first? If I can't do that with a dumb poem (as I'm not much of a poet), how can I even think my worship isn't selfless.
So the questions I'm mulling are:
- What is worship?
- Why do we worship?
- How do we worship?
And the scriptures I'm starting with:
Jn 4:21-24 Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
Is 29:13 (Quoted by Jesus in Mt 15:7-9) 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.
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. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
In that day you will say: "I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation." With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say: "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you."
If anyone reads this (crickets...), I'd love to hear what you think in the comments. How do you worship? Why do you worship? Or what do you think it means to worship in spirit?
To close, how about one of our favorite family worship tunes, from Robin Mark: