We’re all the Rich young ruler. We’re all unwilling to give up that which is in our way of truly being alive.
What do we worship? Do we worship God or do we worship ourselves? Do we worship being right about God or about theology? Because if we exclude people because they think differently than us, that’s exactly what we’re doing. And if we do indeed worship God, why? There is enough pain in our lives to know that there is often not much for us to be grateful for. The unexpected accident, the job loss, the miscarriage, the husband announcing to his wife he had cheated on her.
So why should we worship God when He allows so much pain in our lives?
Or is this the wrong question?
We enter the sanctuary every Sunday morning and sing the same songs over and over to a creative God.
Maybe we are looking in the wrong places to worship God. It’s easy to stand inside a church with hundreds of other Christians singing worship songs. And if it’s not perhaps that is a sign that there has to be more to worship than this. It’s easy to get up on a Sunday morning and put on nice clothes, pack the family in the car and act the part. Then stand at the front and deliver the sermon. And if it’s not perhaps there has to be more to worship than that.
Do we worship God or just the faith and practices we have made God?
Are we called to give up all our possessions? Or should we just give up the things we need that are getting in the way of seeing. Was the rich young rulers problem that he had too much money or that he had so much stuff that the view outside from his window was blocked? He couldn’t see the sky.
We worship God because we have escaped Hell or because we are not like themuns.
But is that enough to worship God for when Hell is all around us right now and themuns are thinking the same thing about us?
Worshipping God in a new way where the focus is not on me is something I am frightened of. I need to feel good and I need to protect the little I have. My beliefs, my ideas, my way. So I seek a faith that builds walls around me which keep out anything that is different or weird. But weird is where change is found, and change is where growth is found.
If anything that is weird is what I don’t know, then that means the people, the places and the ideas that I normally hold at arms length. But that is not where I grow. I need to let them in. When I do, I see God truly for who He is. I understand His love a little more and my heart beats a little more calmly. And funnily enough my worship becomes a little more real because I see God more for who He truly is.
Yet, this requires community. Not the community that produces cliques but one which creates life. One where all are truly welcome. One where if everyone gave up those things that we don’t want to let go of, we would all be able to see each other and more clearly.
We stop worshipping doctrine, the style of music, the type of coffee served (OK, there may be limits)
Then when tragedy strikes we are all acutely aware of our frailties that we can gather around each other. When joy is born we aren’t all constantly trying to protect our own joy and can share that joy with everyone.
The Rich Young Rulers problem is the same as ours. We are all incredibly rich,
and incredibly poor.