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Worship (Misguided)

“…here is the tragedy of human existence…humans gave up their calling as priests of the world to become the slaves of the world…Thus, in today’s reading, St. Paul says that human beings “worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). These words do not merely apply to those who make idols out of wood or stone. It applies to all who give their highest honor, esteem, and reverence to the things of this world. Whatever we worship–that is, whatever we hold in highest regard–that is, what preoccupies and controls us. God is the only giver and sustainer of life. And if we worship something else, we are possessed with what is not life but death.” (Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Fr. Basil)


“Worship power—you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart—you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out…The insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful; it is that they are unconscious. They are default settings. They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing…you can’t just think your way to right worship. Becoming conscious isn’t the only—or even an adequate—solution to the challenge…[the] more holistic response is to intentionally recalibrate the unconscious, to worship well, to immerse ourselves in liturgies that are indexed to the kingdom of God precisely so that even our unconscious desires and longings—the affective, under-the-hood ways we intend the world—are indexed to God and what God wants for his world. Through Spirited worship, the grace of God captivates and orients even our unconscious.” (James Smith)


“We do not give thought to the acts of communion in our lives (certainly we fail to see them in their aspects of sacrificial worship). I read a passage recently in a book that suggested that money is the “ontology” of the modern world – that is – it defines for us what is real, what matters. St. Paul described acts of fornication as as acts of communion (1 Cor. 6:16). It can thus be seen as an act of idolatry. All the many places that we imagine ourselves to find our life – our sustenance and our meaning – are subject to becoming places of false communion – false worship.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“…what do we gain from our worship attendance? If we participate in worship services merely for what we get out of them, we will drift from place to place and group to group trying to find something that will satisfy us. But worship is its own purpose. It needs no other. Likewise, we should find joy in serving just as we should attain fulfillment in loving. We should love and serve for their own sake. Indeed, we should do everything that we do “in the Name of the Lord” (Colossians 3:17) and for the glory of God, not for earthly gain.” (Fr. Basil)

“Worship is ‘life support’. We live in conditions of spiritual death that leads to physical death. The specter of death leads to sin and a break in communion with God who is life. There is no life outside of God and the way we receive and sustain life is through worship and communion with Him. Any other choice is death though this might not be readily apparent as we live our lives because God in His love, grace, and mercy gives us time to repent and turn to Him of our own free-will.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


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