Saturday, February 07, 2009

FW: It's fun to make up your own liturgy, isn't it?



From: Paul
Sent: Friday, February 06, 2009 2:41 PM
To: Rayda
Cc: Wade
Subject: It's fun to make up your own liturgy, isn't it?


Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. World without end. Amen. Amen.


You asked a good question. And you came to the correct conclusion: ultimately it's a love story.


Very simply put, worship is thanksgiving and praise. 


We acknowledge that God is greater than we are.  That is why we praise.


The Doxology is simply Greek for, "Words of Glory."


You could just as well change the word "praise" to "worship"  or "thank"


Praise\Thank\Worship\Glorify God from whom all blessings flow,

Praise\Thank\Worship\Glorify him all creatures here below.

Praise\Thank\Worship\Glorify him above ye (the) heavenly host,

Praise\Thank\Worship\Glorify Father, Son and Holy Ghost . 

Why worship God, the God we proclaim as Father, Son, Holy Spirit? There are all kinds of other gods. Why worship this particular god of the Old Testament and the New Testament?


The answer really is in the first two commandments:


2.  "I am\[YHWH is] the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  3.  "You shall have no other gods before me. 


4.  "You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5.  you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6.  but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. 


Just think of this: the rest of the Old Testament is a report on how well the House of Israel followed those two first commandments, and how miserable their lives were when they didn't.


There wasn't any exclusive praise of YHWH in Israel and later Judea -- but there wasn't any love of YHWH either.


Yet, lots of folks worship and love other gods. Or they invent their own gods, easy and non-demanding gods who don't really demand anything, and gods who can give nothing in return. Not much to praise there. Or give thanks for. Or love.


Praise contains love, but it also contains an acknowledgement that this God is greater than we are.


Back to the Love Story: The real question is why did God make us anyway?


Why does a god need company? It's like Ted Williams not tipping his hat, nor acknowledging the cheers of the crowd when he hit his last homerun. "Gods do not answer letters," wrote Updike.


The vulnerability of our God, the lack of total self-satisfaction of God is the real mystery.


At the end of the incident in the concentration camp when the Jews put God on trial, they condemned God for God's lack of care for them. And at the end of the trial, it was time for prayers. So they prayed.


In the first paragraph of Augustine's Confessions, Augustine posits the idea that we are made to praise and thank God, and we are miserable until we do so. "Our hearts are restless, until they rest in thee."


It's fun to make up your own liturgy, isn't it?


But most importantly, it's in the end all a love story. You got that right. Have a good weekend.



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