Worship Should Feel (Somewhat) Awkward

Worship Should Feel (Somewhat) Awkward

A God who is utterly unthreatening is not worthy of admiration, and does not provoke fear for His justice or love for His mercy. To worship the God of Scripture is to worship a God who, like Aslan, is “not safe, but He is good”. The worship of an unsafe God includes at least some hesitation, some awkwardness, and some intimidation. As Spurgeon said, it is a throne, lest we presume, but it is a throne of grace, lest we fear too much.

The things we take for granted are often our worst errors. Assuming the correctness of what is false can be disastrous.

An unquestioned expectation of modern worshippers seems to be this: Worship should be enjoyable in its entirety. It should feel familiar, and not foreign. It should be easy to do, not demanding. It should set me at ease, not intimidate me.

The theological idea behind this feel-goodism appears to be: God is a welcoming God, with no particular preference as to how we worship Him. He is happy if we are happy.

In order for this theological idea to be true, we would need to see several supporting ideas in Scripture. Among them would be:

  • Humans who encountered God directly or through a vision felt immediately at ease, at home, and relaxed.
  • God never required any intermediaries between Himself and His worshippers. All could come as they were, and enter God’s presence directly.
  • God was never prescriptive or detailed about where, when, or how He wanted to be worshipped, but left this up to the worshippers’ creativity and sincerity.
  • No one was ever punished for a worship-offence, because sincerity covers a multitude of sins.
  • God preferred worshippers to express themselves freely through a multitude of words – the more, the better.
  • God liked His people to mimic those worship practices found among the pagans, and adapt them for Jehovah-worship.
  • Once a person was converted, no growth or maturity in worship was needed. A newborn Christian had instant, perfect discernment as to who God is, and what He deserves.

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