Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This is so not about me

Frederica Matthewes-Green writes:

I initially disliked Orthodox worship, because I was used to an approach that aimed at inspiration and uplift—in short, aimed at me. The relentless focus on God alone seemed “hard.” After a few months, though, I discovered that I had a deep-seated hunger for that objective God-focus, though I’d never suspected it before. A female visitor to a Vespers service that was only occasionally in English told me that she didn’t understand much that went on, “But I know one thing: this is so not about me.”

Frederica Matthewes-Green, Men and Church

That’s right. Worship of God is so not about us. For example...

Worship is so not about how we prefer to dress for church. It is about honoring God, Who is worth dressing up for! (But does God really care about outward things? Yes, because they reflect and express the heart.)

Worship is so not about what sort of music we prefer, organ or guitar and drums. It is about what music is appropriate for honoring God. It is music for Him, not for us. That means the right kind of music should be prayerful and sober and not cater to us; viz., to our flesh. And it should come from us. God wants to hear our voices! They are all beautiful voices to Him Who created them.

Worship is so not about inspiring, uplifting, or moving us or giving us the strength to carry on with our dysfunctional lives. It is about repenting from our own, broken lives, turning away from ourselves and toward God, renouncing our lives to receive God’s Life instead, His righteous and eternal Life.

The Christian religion is so not about “happiness”. It is about self-sacrificing love, a.k.a. holiness, which is difficult and often painful.


emily said...

That reminds me of another favorite FMG quote:

"Western Christianity, I find, has a comparatively feminine flavor. The emphasis is on nurturing and comfort; reunion with God occurs as he heals our inner wounds. In the West, we want God to console and reassure us; in the East, we want God to help us grow up and stop acting like jerks."

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Yup, that's good, too.

P.S. Worship is also NOT about preserving your Hellenic, Russian, or Arabic culture.