Why we Worship

PSALM 47

Clap your hands, all peoples!
  Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared,
  a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
  and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
  the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

God has gone up with a shout,
  the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
  Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
  sing praises with a psalm!

Why Sing?

God reigns over the nations;
  God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
  as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
  he is highly exalted!


Why Scripture?



 
Existence of


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Oh My God, What Have We Done?

May 31, 2009

Poets often see things as they are before the "general public" - you and me. Their insight into faith matters needs to be considered, and perhaps on occasion could even serve as a wakeup call.


This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.' Jeremiah 6:16

Thomas Hardy, the English poet who is best known for his novels, considered poetry his first love. He had early exposure to the church of England, and then was influenced by the Baptists, choosing ultimately to reject both influences.

But as you will see in his poem GOD'S FUNERAL, he lis unable to shrug off the loss of God without a last and lingering look over his shoulder, leaving an unmistakable mist of regret and fear pervading the work.

God is now for Hardy the....

Mangled.....Monarch of our fashioning,
Who quavered, sank; and now has ceased to be.


So, now that we have "gotten rid" of God, what do we do?

'And who or what shall fill his place?
Whither will wanderers turn distracted eyes
For some fixed star to stimulate their pace
Towards the goal of their enterprise?'...


Hardy get it - there is no longer any fixed center. Everything is up for grabs.

Some in the background then I saw,
Sweet women, youths, men, all incredulous,
Who chimed as one: 'This is figure is of straw,
This requiem mockery! Still he lives to us!'


Is this a reference to believers who hold to a risen Christ, against all odds, in every age?

I could not prop their faith: and yet
Many I had known: with all I sympathized;
And though struck speechless, I did not forget
That what was mourned for, I, too, once had prized.

Still, how to bear such loss I deemed
The insistent question for each animate mind.....


Hardy refuses to gloss over the influence of a culture that chooses to live as though there were no God.

And gazing, to my growing sight there seemed
A pale yet positive gleam low down behind.....

Hope springs eternal. "It's not so bad," says the crowd. "We'll be allright. You'll see."

Whereof, to lift the general night,
A certain few who stood aloof had said,
'See you upon the horizon that small light --
Swelling somewhat?' Each mourner shook his head.


This world needs light. And so alternative sources are sought after. The search is ongoing to find an appropriate substitute for the unsubstitutable.

And they composed a crowd of whom
Some were right good, and many nigh the best....
Thus dazed and puzzled 'twixt the gleam and gloom
Mechanically I followed with the rest.


Hardy is unable to fight the gravitational pull of the spirit of the age. He gives up without putting up much of a fight.

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) in his poem DOVER BEACH, addresses the disappearance of faith, using the metaphor of ocean waves that crash on the sand, as they wet the sand, and then receed back to where they came from.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.


Yet my people have forgotten me; they burn incense to worthless idols, which made them stumble in their ways and in the ancient paths. They made them walk in bypaths and on roads not built up. Jeremiah 18:15




 









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