Benediction Online

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Worship Christ the 'King'

There’s a sign on the side of the church which says Worship 10:30. We know what that means and I think probably most people passing know it means we have a church service at 10:30. But why do we call it worship?

I looked worship up in a dictionary which offered ten slightly different definitions. The two I found most helpful were:
reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.
to feel an adoring reverence or regard

So when we worship God we are honoring, reverencing and adoring him or her. The dictionary further defines homage as‘the formal public acknowledgment by which a feudal tenant or vassal declared himself to be the man or vassal of his lord, owing him fealty and service.’

This aspect of worship as acknowledging God as Sovereign or Lord, as King or Queen, as the one to whom we owe obedience and service doesn’t sit well for many of us as Americans who live in a ‘great experiment’ – a country without a sovereign, where the people are ‘free’ to live without having to obey any one sovereign person.

I recently watched the miniseries on John Adams that HBO produced a while ago. Adams as the first vice-president struggled to find a suitably exalted name to call the president. His ideas were jeered and voted down by the Senate so today we just say “Mr. President”. It seems to me, as a one time foreigner, that Americans have a love-hate relationship with powerful people – we want to know all about them and speculate endlessly about their personal lives while at the same time we carp and criticize and love to see them lose power.

So it’s not surprising when images of Christ as Sovereign bring up a mixture of feelings. Often Americans seem to favor a rather prosaic religious expression which emphasizes the mind and reduces worship to the awe inspired by a wonderful sunset.


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