The Ramblings Of John Campea

Life Beyond The Movies

Robert Webber on self centered

Robert Webber on self centered worship

I wonder if the more recent emphasis on self in worship is one more way of expressing our autonomy and self-importance.

It runs like this: “God, I am going to worship you. I consider you worthy of my worship. God, this is your lucky day. I, this self-sufficient, independent human being, around whom all of life centers, I am going to give you some of my time. I am going to declare you worthy of my worship.”

So how do we go about correcting this misunderstanding? Only by understanding that worship focuses on God and God’s mission to rescue the world through Jesus Christ. In words, signs, and gestures we sing, proclaim, and enact God’s mission.

The heart of this story is that God assumed human nature so that we, whose humanity he shares, may be presented to the Father. By faith we are united to Jesus and baptized in his name. He is not only our Savior but also our worship.

Our worship is not an autonomous, independent act arising from self but is accomplished for us by Jesus himself. The work of Jesus is the only worship pleasing to the Father. Therefore, our worship—feeble, broken, and incomplete—is offered to God through Jesus who is the one true worship of God.

I find this biblical and ancient vision of worship to be enormously freeing.

It frees us from self-focused worship and all the legalisms associated with it. It is no longer “I am going to offer you my worship.”

Instead, our worship is: “Thank you, Jesus, for doing for me what I can’t do for myself … I can’t save myself … I can’t generate spirituality … I can’t pray as I wish … I can’t even worship you well.”

Thanks be to God, this kind of worship puts us and our worship in its right place—under the complete Lordship of Christ. It’s where self finds its true meaning and our worship is perfected in Jesus, whose service to God is what God finds pleasing and acceptable. Once this grace-filled worship grasps us, we are freed to allow our worship to be prayer.

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June 30, 2003 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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