Excerpt Chapter 2: Smaller—A Failure of Scale

< 2: Smaller—a Failure of Scale

Simply put, the first core failing of a

small(er) worship is just that:

it’s too small. 

It’s a terrible mismatch for the God of Everything, toward whom our worship attempts to point. It’s a limited response to an unlimited Savior. It’s savagely poor when He is unspeakably rich. It’s a stick-figure drawing of the complex vision of a summer night sky or a broken, rusted mirror trying to reflect back unimaginable beauty. It’s a misalignment of both intent and destination. When you think of it this way, a proposed worship of Almighty God, expressed consistently as a matter of only sixty minutes or so once a week, just doesn’t make any sense. Maybe we need to remind ourselves again Who it is we say we are worshiping.

First off, He is unique. What we might call utterly unique.

If we are talking about One God, eternally present and sovereignly supreme, then we are by extension saying there are no others like Him. No one. Not even close. It’s a distinction of categories in every possible way, with no possible challengers. The clarity of Isaiah 43:10b is helpful here:

“Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.”

This is the Biblical statement of His uniqueness. He is exclusively and therefore categorically, God alone. There is God and then there is everything and everyone else that is not God. If He is uniquely God, He is also then the unique center of everything. The absolute center of all that exists. Though He Himself has no beginning, He is the starting point of all else. Home. Fulcrum. Axis. Pick your metaphor here for “origin and center of all things”. He alone satisfies its definition and imagery in  every way.

We might then say that He is the spiritual gravitational center of the universe. Everything moves closer to Him as a matter of relational and authoritative realities. We don’t mean this in the sense that all things are absorbed into, or become the essence of God. That would be a gross heresy of His unique divine nature as well as the fashion in which He creates unique, personal beings like humans and angels. It’s more like a magnetic draw. All things, people included, are inescapably linked in Him. Everything answers, and is ultimately responsible, to Him. Every particle, element, and being in this ridiculously massive universe is made for and by God—void of meaning, life, or purpose apart from that connection to Him. There is a universal, gravitational pull of all that is made toward the One who made it.

We haven’t even begun to touch on His perfected love, holiness, or flawless acts of judgment and mercy. People, if we espouse a Biblical view of God, then we mean that He alone is God. In every way. Eternally and powerfully. Doesn’t it seem a bit of a mismatch then to talk about worshiping this God—God Almighty, I AM—in the simple terms of time (and a small amount of it at that)?

Okay, we are presuming that no one actually lives out worship in this manner, strictly-speaking. We are presuming that followers of Jesus get the idea that this doesn’t make sense. But then we need to ask ourselves, “what did this last week look like in terms of worshiping God—for me?” So it wasn’t the far left edge of our spectrum, as in just one hour. Was it closer to the undesirable “one hour a week” than a more full-life response and engagement with God that He deserves, simply by nature of His character and position? Was it two? Five? Ten? Was it smaller, as opposed to bigger? If God is truly God, then any worship worthy of Him must be better aligned than that. Bigger than that. It has to be. This first core failing of a small(er) worship is that…

it simply doesn’t measure up.

It’s one of the subtle yet significant ways in which our worship can remain in the company of smaller things. We should not skip over this truth quickly or dismiss it lightly. God, because He is God, deserves more than an hour a week of our devotion, love, and service. This woefully limited approach is simply too small. Smaller than what God deserves, certainly, but also smaller than what He offers us in worship as well. Because, as it turns out, a bigger worship is an engagement of both giving and receiving. In the incredible mystery of honoring and fellowshipping with God, smaller turns out also to be a tragic devaluation of the incredible invitation of worship, treating it as something much less than the grand gift that God intends for us to receive and enjoy.

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