Monday, April 09, 2007

michael card redefines worship

Michael Card redefines worship in Today's Christian, The (Broken) Heart of Worship
We must never lose sight of the fact that all these laments flow from that first faithful response in Job 1:20, "then he fell to the ground in worship." They are all connected to that initial act of worship by the threads of lament that weave together the fabric of the entire book. Job stubbornly insists on maintaining the dialogue with the God who, for a while longer, remains infuriatingly silent. He continues to offer up to Him all his suffering, his suicidal groanings, his confusion and hurt, even his own deep disappointment with God. He has come to the desperate understanding that there is no other place to take them but to God. They are the only offering he has left. He cannot lose now because he has nothing left to lose. Despite his heartbroken and heartbreaking accusations against God—that He no longer sees or cares—Job sees with a crystal clarity provided by suffering that he simply has no place else to go.

Today we would ask Job to leave all these negative emotions at the church door. They are not appropriate to, nor do they fit inside the narrow confines of our definition of, worship. And so, likewise, those of us who have nothing else to offer but our brokenness find the door effectively closed in our faces. It cost Job everything to teach us this lesson. It is time we learned it.

Worship is not only about good feelings, joy, and prosperity. If this were true, then according to this modern American understanding of worship, the poor have nothing to say, nothing of value to bring to God. While Jesus would pronounce a blessing on those who mourn, we in modern congregations often pronounce a curse. Those who "labor and are heavy laden" can find no place in our comfortable churches to lay their burdens. We reason, "Who could possibly conceive of a God who would want to receive such worthless, empty offerings?"

But Job desperately clings to such a God, one who encourages us to offer everything to Him, every joy and every sorrow. All our broken hearts. All our contrite spirits. Because He is worth it.

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