Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

Experiencing the divine

11/13/11

If one wants to experience the divine, to feel God's presence and approval, many think that this must be done through a worship exercise under the sanction of the institutional church. Thus we have the prevalent focus on what is called worship and praise activities within the weekly church service. Somehow we have embraced the idea that our encounter with God must take place within the context of our submission and subservience to Him. Under this paradigm, God desires that we demonstrate our love and devotion to Him by endlessly pronouncing His goodness and worthiness as if our repeated expressions established and confirmed His nature and character. God's character is written in the stars as the poet has already noted. We can never add to or diminish that character, regardless of our actions.

Furthermore, God did not create mankind to be His lover; instead He created so that mankind could be His beloved. We have God's love turned inside out and upside down, making God into a megalomaniac who embodies the worst characteristics of the human creature, instead of exemplifying a transcendent nature which defies our understanding. In effect, under the auspices of the  church, God has become so small that we relate to him like we would to anyone in a position of human power and authority, displaying deference in hope of personal gain. It is not an elevated picture of either God or mankind. God becomes a tyrant and we become His sycophants, ignobly seeking to ingratiate ourselves to the one who wields the power to grant us advantage over the rest of humanity.

If instead of trying to please and impress God by our deference and submissiveness to His majestic personage, through prescribed worship activities, we placed our emphasis on living our lives so as to project God's love onto our fellowmen through our actions rather than through church doctrine, our reverence for God would at last find its true expression. What we practice in our worship sessions may be emotionally fulfilling and therefore uplifting, but those activities are of limited worth apart from our commitment to the Golden rule and the ethical standards of love. To the extent that we try to realize God's presence without such a commitment, we sink into spiritual irrelevance.

The outside observers of so called Christianity largely remain unimpressed by church rhetoric, including expression of devotion within an orchestrated event like a worship service. Oft repeated words and traditional rituals easily become meaningless, even to the participants. On the other hand, a genuine demonstration of respect and concern for mankind in general would mark Christians as truly unique and worthy of attention. Additionally, that kind of outward focus would not appear so easily as self promotion, like constantly trumpeting one's piety through worshipful ritualism which supposedly secures spiritual superiority.

 

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