Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Who do we worship?

As I mentioned earlier this Sunday I am part of a preaching exchange. And even though excited about this opportunity I have to admit that I struggle in preaching in churches that are not my home church. I just feel very disconnected (which I am). I don't know what they have been learning, I don't what the people have been going through. Please pray for me.

This Sunday I felt lead to preach on what unites us as churches - which is God. We all worship God. So I am going to explore a couple of the different characteristics of God. The question I will explore is "who do we worship?"
And as I explore different aspects of God I will also share how too often in my life have been tempted to worship a god that is less then that God of the bible.
How would you describe the God of the bible? Are you tempted to worship a god that is less than that?


gary said...

This article from Tom came to mind...
It is important to begin by clarifying the question. When people ask “Was Jesus God?” they usually think they know what the word “God” means, and are asking whether we can fit Jesus into that. I regard this as deeply misleading. I can perhaps make my point clear by a personal illustration.

For seven years I was College Chaplain and Worcester College, Oxford. Each year I used to see the first year undergraduates individually for a few minutes, to welcome them to the college and make a first acquaintance. Most were happy to meet me; but many commented, often with slight embarrassment, “You won’t be seeing much of me; you see, I don’t believe in god.”

I developed stock response: “Oh, that’s interesting; which god is it you don’t believe in?” This used to surprise them; they mostly regarded the word “God” as a univocal, always meaning the same thing. So they would stumble out a few phrases about the god they said they did not believe in: a being who lived up the in the sky, looking down disapprovingly at the world, occasionally “intervening” to do miracles, sending bad people to hell while allowing good people to share his heaven. Again, I had a stock response for this very common statement of “spy-in-the-sky” theology: “Well, I’m not surprised you don’t believe in that god. I don’t believe in that god either.”

At this point the undergraduate would look startled. Then, perhaps, a faint look of recognition; it was sometimes rumored that half the college chaplains at Oxford were atheists. “No,” I would say; “I believe in the god I see revealed in Jesus of Nazareth.” What most people mean by “god” in late-modern western culture simply is not the mainstream Christian meaning.

In Jesus himself, I suggest we see the biblical portrait of YHWH come to life: the loving God, rolling up his sleeves (Isa 52:10) to do in person the job that no one else could do, the creator God giving new life the God who works through his created world and supremely through his human creatures, the faithful God dwelling in the midst of his people, the stern and tender God relentlessly opposed to all that destroys or distorts the good creation, and especially human beings, but recklessly loving all those in need and distress. “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall carry the lambs in his arms; and gently lead those that are with young” (Isa 40:11). It is the OT portrait of YHWH, but it fits Jesus like a glove.

My proposal is not that we understand what the word “god” means and manage somehow to fit Jesus into that. Instead, I suggest that we think historically about a young Jew, possessed of a desperately risky, indeed apparently crazy, vocation, riding into Jerusalem in tears, denouncing the Temple, and dying on a Roman cross—and that we somehow allow our meaning for the word “god” to be recentered around that point. (from Jesus and the identity of God) Well there it is (if you made it this far) from Mr Wright
Halbstadt is a welcoming and warm congregation...blessings


Ben said...

Gary that is a great article. I agree with Tom. Jesus is central to our entire faith. Our understanding of God needs to be fixated on Jesus.

Sister C said...

God is so big I am not sure we ever fully get to worship him as we should until we are in eternity. This earthly worship is a constant pursuit to worship as fully as we are capable of understanding him. and sadly yes I don't worship him as I should because I often choose not to be in full pursuit of him.