Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"I Wuv You, Jesus..." (Gag)

I went to a worship gathering last Saturday night with some friends. They had a professional quality band, smokin' lighting, great sound, amazing stage presence, etc. It's been over a year since I've worshiped in context like that and a lot's happened in my heart during these last 12 months. It was a mildly charismastic group, so I was expecting to feel right at home. In contrast with how I expected to feel, however, I left the service feeling very disturbed without really understanding why.

On the 40 minute drive home, I prayed all over it and the Lord brought something to mind He had just explained to me that same morning. It had to do with why Love is the "greatest of these" in the Faith, Hope, Love triad of life. I'm learning it's because God designed real Love to go first, leading a person into Truth (Ps 26:3; Jn 15; Eph 4:15; 2 Thess 2:10; 1 Jn 3:18; etc.) which then leads to Faith (Rom 10:14; Gal 3:2; etc.) which produces life. So Love is intended to lead to Truth which is intended to produce Faith (which, as James tells us, always produces action). But that's not the kind of love I experienced at this worship gathering.

What I experienced was a kind of love that didn't lead to truth or faith or action. There was no Scripture, no missional challenge, no prayer for others, no acknowledgement of God's redemptive aim, etc. It was simply a collection of beautiful and energetic songs about how wonderful it is to be in love with our loving God. It was a sort of romantic, emotional orgy that had little to do with the real person or call of Christ. I'm sure that, as with every imperfect reality, God achieved some life-giving moments; but as a whole, I don't think we can call an experience that isn't tied to truth or faith real love... do you? And yet, the songs were very "loving" songs!

It's no secret that people everywhere are desparate to feel an experience of love. And because people either don't know how to get there or don't want the realities that accompany it, many have trouble obtaining that experience. So, they settle for a substitute. They settle for infatuation. That emotional high of being in love without the truth and faith that allows love to produce any real life... which is what they really need to begin with... Life.

The reality is that Jesus does love us... very much. So much, in fact, that He came to be our "Way, Truth, & Life" so we wouldn't be lost in the darkness of our own self-deception and bondage to sinful independence anymore. He loves us and enjoys us and has a plan for us and wants to teach it to us and wants to bring us into partnership with Himself in redeeming the world. Does our worship point to all that? Or have we come to reduce our worship gatherings into mere romantic expressions of our Jesus-infatuation? I'm still chewing on this. But those are my first thoughts.


David said...

Well said John, and though I don't try and diminish those valentines day with Jesus experiences, if that's all there is, we are falling way short and are basically having a 9th Grade crush on the creator of the Universe.
Jesus said if we loved him we would obey his commands.
I don't think he commanded us to sing pop love songs and replace the words 'baby' with 'Jesus'.

Makeesha said...

well said John and David. funny thing, your story was so similar to something David and I experienced awhile back I thought it was David writing.

Duncan McFadzean said...

John, not sure if you've read "Exiles" by Michael Frost but the last two chapters cover how we need to rethink the songs we sing. He entitles one of the chapters "Jesus ain't my boyfriend" and what his point is, is that the love we see in the bible is mostly Father/Son rather than romantic. The romantic ones are often in reference to God loving Israel and Israel being unfaithful.

Totally agree with everything you said. Let me know when you find some good songs. Why can't we have the good words of the past, with the music of now? Why can't we have good lyrics and good music? I think we're crying out for real songwriters to stand up.

Oh yeah, and lets stop calling singing "worship" because that's only a tiny part of "worship".

Good post John/David/Makeesha

John Lynch said...

That's funny... I just bought that book, Duncan! Eager to read it. Thanks for your comment (& yours too David & Mak). Life & peace in Christ our Love, Truth, & Faith!

Duncan McFadzean said...

Strange how it all comes together isn't it? Or are we just in a mutual reinforcement community? I think it's the former, I certainly hope so :-)