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O come let us adore Him?

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O come let us adore Him?

By Dr. Kenneth Faught

 

  O come let us adore Him?   “.. . . Then opening their treasures, they [the Wise men] offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11b).   Christian worship as the church has known it for 2000 years is becoming an endangered species. The Wise Men came to Christ opening their treasures and offering him precious gifts, no doubt hoping that these gifts would be acceptable to the One whom they had come a great distance to worship. Many today show up at the church steps wondering, “What’s in it for me?” “Will I get anything out of this?” “Will I be inspired, encouraged, and fulfilled?” There may even be “disappointment with God” if the Creator, Provider, Sustainer, and Redeemer of humanity does not “come through” with the anticipated “blessings!” This view of worship, and of God, suggests that He exists for our comfort, convenience, and amusement. Historically, the church has understood worship to be a recognition and ascription of “worth-ship” to God. We gather in humility, gratitude, prayer, and praise to make a feeble effort to declare what God is worth to us. HE is the audience, and WE are the performers, as opposed to God and his ministers being the performers and our being the audience. The purpose of worship is neither entertainment nor to earn salvation, but to declare the glory and goodness of God and to praise him for His power and grace. Observing the attitudes of many professing Christians can potentially confuse others about the purpose of worship, the church, and even the Christian faith itself. When worship, and life, becomes self-centered or congregation-centered, the very purpose of our gathering is undermined. Have you noticed? Many of the Christmas greetings we receive fail to acknowledge “the reason for the season.” We are so comfort-oriented that “God forbid” that we must hold our own hymnal – there should be a widescreen presentation of everything we need to know or do (stay tuned for instant replay if anyone decides to “throw a flag” or “challenge a call” in worship). Parking needs to be convenient and free, just like at Thompson-Boling and Neyland. There should be an option to “debit” offerings, just like at the mall. Seats need to be comfortable with plenty of leg room (just like at Thompson-Boling and Neyland). The temperature should be perfect, just like at Thompson-Boling and Neyland. The musicians should be professional and the pastor should come across like Dr. Phil or our favorite news anchor. Why crawl out of bed on your day off and go to a church where something is expected of you? Doesn’t God know who I am! What a far cry from the worship that has sustained Christians through centuries of persecution and suffering. There’s an old hymn that asks, “What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; if I were a wise man, I would do my part; yet what can I give him: give [him] my heart.” Among other things, Christmas tells us that God gave the First Gift and now says, “It’s your turn.”   Dr. Faught is Pastor of The LaFollette United Methodist Church.