Blog


Transforming Worship

2017

From the sermon series Trajectory of Faith

Mark 10:13-16 Common English Bible

13 People were bringing children to Jesus so that he would bless them. But the disciples scolded them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he grew angry and said to them, “Allow the children to come to me. Don’t forbid them, because God’s kingdom belongs to people like these children. 15  I assure you that whoever doesn’t welcome God’s kingdom like a child will never enter it.” 16 Then he hugged the children and blessed them.

Let’s begin in an unchild-like way:
First Christians described the evolving sense of trinity with ae Greek noun perichoresis. But wait don’t be afraid – you know this word: it begins with a prefix peri (around) paired with a root of the verb choreia (to dance), as in choreograph. So Trinity – God dance. Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer dancing around. It’s the choreography of the cosmos, the interrelationship of Creator, creation, and life itself, a holy hop of the holy Wholly.
Creation is God’s dance, and Jesus is the Dancer inviting everyone to join in the music of the spheres. Watch for where he’s dancing and join the jig, the samba, the cha-cha-cha. God leads of course as we fall into those strong arms. Heaven enters the circle dance of creation. Jesus sees us children and invites us to come for the clapping, tapping, and giggles.

The ancient notion of “cleaving together,” may be thought of as hugging together as in a fellowship of oneness and intimacy so close that only unity appears. In Christ, all embrace in the dance with divinity and with each other, a living fluid body. Each follower has their own unique step interpretation embracing and pouring themselves into the identity of Christ.

As we follow we sync with Jesus, we enjoy synergy – an energetic unity with Spirit.   Jesus’ rhythms tap out new life with movements to new songs until all are singing and dancing together in a beautiful and diverse harmony. The dance of Christ is world choreography. The Holy Spirit is starting new dances classes everywhere. When we dance then, we follow the Spirit’s lead.

Don’t sit this one out. Dance now while you can. The world doesn’t need more conversations so much as it needs more dancing, more children of God, more children of God twisting the night away.

 

 

 

 

Worship has become routine. Not that familiar is a bad thing, but it’s not a good thing either.  Many families sink in dysfunctional patterns of abuse, addiction, or depression precisely because it’s familiar.  Churches are families in a way, and they too can develop unhealthy processes.

 

Brian McLaren proposes that if Christians are adrift or barreling full-speed down the wrong track, or stuck, or moving in reverse with eyes glued to the rear-view mirror, public worship will likely be part of the problem and not be a positive force for good.

 

Yikes, we know or ought to know what happens to trains going down the wrong track.  You don’t get to where you want to be or worse – train wreck!  I keep thinking, worship can be about forward thinking individuals bringing people together to have their desires, values, and vision formed by intergenerational, multi cultural, and enthusiastic songs and prayers, where God shows up.  I don’t want to part of an institution mired in the past.  I want to shout, “Move over, both sides of the decades-old worship wars, there’s something new on the block that both sides need to step up and go deeper in worship to reclaim ancient law, prophetic justice, and transforming love – love that moves from sanctuary to street like water down the mountain.

Worship, ultimately, is about honoring God for who God is. Too often, though, we assume an answer to the question of who God is by projecting a larger image of ourselves with all our prejudices, ideologies, and presumptions. Brain McLaren writes, “If the God we worship is a projection of who we are now, our worship will form in us a hardened version of our current identity. But if our vision of God is ahead of us—better, more compassionate, more wise—our experience of worship will change our identity as it brings the radiance of God’s identity more fully into view.”   I believe that Jesus is the embodiment of transforming love can change the world. Our worship needs to evoke and celebrate the world-changing love of God that changes us and changes the world.

 

Worship must point to where human nature meets God: worship is the assembly place for the temporal and the eternal with Jesus as the bridge between heaven and earth, past, present and future, up and down, light and dark, human and divine, birth and death, immanence and transcendence, genesis and eschaton, death and resurrection.

 

We need God’s radical vision of the future and the transformative creativity that plays itself out on the stage of our hearts and spirit.  Then having soaked it in, bring it with you out those church doors, across the parking lot to the homeless people of storm wreaked New Jersey shores, malaria infested villages of sub-Saharan Africa, and the desperate faces of people right here in our own village.  Real worship!