Friday, September 30, 2016

Real Worship - The Rev. J. Gary Brinn in Constructive Faith

What we do in our faith community only matters if it changes what we do everywhere else. Mouths without hands is empty praise.

God is a powerful force of creativity, compassion and love in the universe, and the fact that we praise or worship is an attempt to align ourselves with that powerful force, for it is our source and our end.

This is all well and good as an abstraction, but what does that look like in our lives? Is it only about interior faith and exterior avoidance of sin? Or is there something more?

For those of us in the Christian tradition, this construction of a God with agency and a passive people changed radically with the arrival of Jesus, Hebrew prophet, healer and teacher.

In this itinerant rabbi, we believe, the world had a direct experience of the divine.

No longer a superhuman warrior-king, God was instead a force for healing and justice, a community activist and a non-violent protester against oppressive imperialism and religion.

If our purpose in praising and worshiping God is to align ourselves with the original force of creativity and compassion - of love and growth, of the ordinary miracles of today - then we should know that this is not interior and it is not static. It is not “give my heart to Jesus.” God does not only need your heart. God needs your hands.

The trajectory of our faith - our growing understanding of God and the event of God’s anointed in the person of Jesus - demands that we no longer be passive lumps waiting for divine intervention. We are the divine intervention. This is how God chose to act in the world, through the beautifully imperfect flesh and blood of humanity. That is how God acted in Jesus. It is how God acts today.

What we do in our faith community only matters if it changes what we do everywhere else. Mouths without hands is empty praise.

The full article is available here