God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Our Mount Rushmore's

Mount Rushmore, SD
Mount Rushmore, SD
On our first trip home from Wyoming to Illinois, Reed and I stopped at Mount Rushmore. I had been there before when I was probably about Reed’s age. So in my head I had these images of what it was like. I remembered a lot of woods and trees. Being from the center of Illinois seeing a place with a lot of trees always imprinted in my brain because all we had was the tree in the front yard and the one in the back. I have this impression of having walked along a narrow dirt path that wound through the trees and then of seeing the faces of the presidents.

So Reed and I got there and we parked in this state of the art parking garage. And began walking up these beautiful stairs and then through this archway where you could see Rushmore for the first time. It was framed by a long pathway with columns and arches. The faces were visible from the moment you entered the top of the stairs.

It’s truly amazing, but completely different from what I was expecting or even imaging was possible. Part of me yearned for the old surprise and the comfort of what was in my memories. But part of me was completely awestruck by the newness and grandeur of what was there.

It seems to me that we often carry around with us images in our heads of what the church used to be like and do and what worship has always been. Yet, the images and memories we have in our heads are from a different time, place, and culture; a time and place that gives us comfort and makes us long to return to the familiar. Yet it turns out that while we were not looking the world changed on us. What we remember while satisfying to us can not appeal to people like Reed who are seeing it for the first time and coming from a totally new perspective and have a different impression of what church should look like and do.

My generation of people who for the most part grew up unchurched and may not even have been raised in a Judeo-Christian home. Prior to the Passion of Christ, when asked what Easter was about they would have said spring, baskets, candy, the Easter Bunny. These are the people we want to join our church they are the ones now with kids. Yet when they come into the building and experience the old Mount Rushmore they don’t come back, for it wasn’t meaningful for them.

What comments do we hear about our worship gathering? Do people say, “I enjoyed that” or “That was fun” or “Good job today?” Or do they say, “I encountered God here today” or “I felt the presence of Jesus here.” (Dan Kimball, 35). What would the worship experience be in our church in order to have the people’s responses be different? Are we willing to suffer a lot of discomfort with a move from the remembered images of our Mount Rushmore’s to the new experience of new generations?

This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. Exodus 8:1

Worship the Lord with Gladness; come before God with joyful songs. Psalm 100:2

Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”  Job 1:20-21

You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry hosts, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them, and the multitudes of heaven worship You.”  Nehemiah 9:6

God is spirit and God’s worshippers must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:24

Therefore since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “god is a consuming fire.”  Hebrews 12:28-29

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer you bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.  Romans 12:1

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