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Food for Thought - Musings

What If?

The other day while driving I was pondering various things and somehow landed on the topic of church. I do not know why this was on my mind – possibly because I have just moved and so have been scanning the internet for a church to attend closer to my new home. While reading various websites and seeing how churches present themselves to those browsing the web, I have been subconsciously mulling over the focus and the why of church. Well, whatever the reason, I came up with an intriguing thought – intriguing at least to me. What if church was about God? No really. I am serious. What if church was not about the quality and style of the music, the comfort of the chairs, the volume of the sound system, the length of the sermon, how impressive the décor or multi-media presentations are, how cool the pastor is, or the lighting and temperature of the building? What if church was about God? What if church was God-focused, God-centered, God-infused?

What if worship was about singing to God rather than singing about God: changing words of songs from “God” to the personal pronoun “You.” Or instead of singing “God” is this or that, singing “You” are this or that. When I talk to my wife about who she is to me I do not say to her, “Donna is kind and giving.” I say, “you are kind and giving,” because I am speaking to her. She is right there listening so I address my comments to her. What if we did that with God? A mere tweaking of a word here or there would make a huge difference, singing to God as if God was there with us, listening to us, which God is! I actually have started doing that – it is not very hard. When appropriate, I just replace the word ‘God’ with the word ‘You’ as I sing the worship song. It helps me to remind myself that God is with me and I am with God and my desire is to worship God, to sing to God, the lover and savior of my soul, to honor God and affirm who God is rather than to sing about God.

What if sermons helped us to know God, experience God and grow in our God awareness rather than help us to learn the five new steps to becoming a better this or that? Each week it seems that the messages of many churches contain a new series of steps designed to help us become a better this or that. I fear these weekly steps often serve to distance us from God rather than to draw us to God, taking our focus off God and putting it onto ourselves and our performance and/or behavior. What if church broke out of the trap of seeking to be relevant by focusing on self help issues and predominately teaching about what is seen and temporal, and instead sought to help us develop new eyes to see that which is invisible and eternal? What if the messages invited us to consider the wonder, majesty and mystery of God? What if we were challenged and invited to know God and to order our lives in accordance with who God has shown God’s self to be. What if we spent time mulling over and soaking in the attributes of God, unpacking Jesus’ theology of God as Father, Paul’s emphasis on the mystery of God, Peter’s focus on the compassion and care of God, and John’s concentration on the love and otherness of God? What if the messages where God-focused rather than self-serving?

What if church was about coming to worship God, coming to present ourselves to God as a living and holy sacrifice, coming to learn about and experience God in ways that would invite and challenge us to ponder the grandeur, majesty, mystery and otherness of God, as well as the other incredibly vast array of attributes of God? What if church challenged us to live a life that reflected who God is?

What if church was really about God, God-focused, God-centered and God-infused? Would it be any different? Would I be any different? Would my life be any different? Would church and church life be any different? Would the Christian world be different? Would the world be different? What if…?

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