Me, Myself and Jesus; the Idolatry of Worship.
I offered some thoughts on this in my last post. I had intended to follow it up before now but being a uni student + working + church + the trails of life + trying to have down time = that not happening.
“My Jesus, My Saviour”
As these words were sung around me, I couldn’t help but once again question what we were singing. At which point did I gain personal ownership of God? Now don’t get me wrong, I know that isn’t the intention of the writer who penned these lyrics but put in the context of the landscape of modern worship I think this is actually what gets communicated in a sub-conscious kind of way. Christianity has become about what we can get, what is promised to me, what benefits I will find. It’s not like we even sing “Our Jesus, Our Saviour” making us aware of those around us, that Christ and Christianity isn’t all about ME. Or how about we start to sing more songs that drive us to action, to live a Christian life. I’m not saying that it isn’t important that we recognise and proclaim our personal relationship with God but the problem is that this is the mode that we have defaulted to, it is out of balance. Christians in this sense are not counter-cultural but have assimilated modern culture as we have become more and more individualistic, it’s about what we can get. Nadia Bolz-weber offers some thoughts on this:
How the glorification of the individual can perhaps best be seen in that new title Americans have given to Jesus in the last 100 years… “Personal Lord and Savior”. As though in your contact list between your Personal Assistant and your Personal Trainer can be found Jesus, your personal savior. And he can be YOUR personal Lord and Savior too if you just choose him. Like a magical puppy in the pound. If you choose him he’ll be yours. And with your personal magical puppy will come all the warm feelings and love and blessings you can imagine.” From here.
This trend affects our theology which in turn affects our actions and our mission. But I believe that Christianity is counter-cultural, I dont believe that we should view church and worship in this way.
“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”
We are called not to serve the self but to deny it. It is not supposed to be all about me. It is supposed to be all about God and all about our neighbour. We are called to take up our cross and follow him, to put others before ourself. Again Nadia offers some thoughts on denying self here.
This is a challenge for us all, one that which we are hindered by in our worship, even those of use aware of the issues surrounding this are still someway affected by this in thought and action. I think we need to change our worship away from self indulgence, which will change our theology and, therefore, our actions. Hopefully we will lay down our idolatry and learn to deny the self to take up our cross and follow Christ.
A related post can be found here: Bought to you by the letter I for me