I will admit my bias against church organ music. Why does it have to sound like this, when it could sound like this? The latter tells me about all of life: tragedy and joy, grief and laughter – that seems more like the walk of faith that I know. The former just makes me wish for a coma, which is usually where I end up when I find myself in a “high church” worship service. The former is also accompanied by the unforgiving church-lady stare of the organist, Mrs. Mcreary, literally looking down her nose at you. Church organ music seems to put you in your place. When people say “worship,” that’s what I think of.
I’m not far off. One of the Hebrew words that is translated as “worship” means to bow down to a superior. So “worship” in this sense is meant to establish a power relationship, to make you feel small and unimportant. In that context, it is hard not to also feel unloved. It is a hierarchy of value with God at the top and you at the bottom.
When God visits Abraham (as three persons; that’s weird) by the Oaks of Mamre, he bows down before them and calls himself God’s servant. He asks his wife Sarah to make a cake, slaughters a calf, and brings them water to wash their feet. But James, in our Christian scripture, has a different take: he says that Abraham was called a “friend of God” (James 2:23). This reminds me of John’s Jesus, in his farewell discourse, proclaiming that we are no longer servants, but friends (John 15:15). If we take Jesus to be the embodiment of God in the world, it would seem that God’s ideal is to have friends rather than servants, to know and be known, to walk with us, even into death. The hierarchy of value dissolves and we must search for another way to understand worship.
Please join us at Kidd Springs Rec Center, 11am on Sunday, as we gather for worship and talk about what it might mean to a bunch of unruly, post-everything skeptics.