Did you have a security blanket as a kid? Maybe it was a special stuffed animal or a pacifier. Or did you suck your thumb?
I had a blanket as a child. My own kids had a variety of security items, which got progressively bizarre. Child #1 carried around a blanket, which we had snugly wrapped him in as an infant. Child #2 had a stuffed lamb named Lamby (whose ear got wrapped over this particular child’s nose, held in place with the forefinger while sucking the thumb). Child #3 also had a special stuffed pet, an elephant named Ellie. But this child did not suck on his thumb. Instead he sucked on the trunk of the elephant, which got very disgusting. Not to mention that said child would regularly walk around and play with a stuffed elephant hanging out of his mouth. Child #4 reverted quite a bit, as she just had a pacifier.
Did you know that adults have security items? Ours tend to be a bit more socially acceptable, but if left unchecked they can become rather bizarre as well, and sometimes destructive. Security items keep us from experiencing some part of life, usually the painful parts. A bottle of alcohol can protect us from experiencing the stress of finances. Netflix can help us escape from the pain of parenting or work. Or there might be an addiction that we use to cope with the horrible memories of our past awful experience. Do you have a security item?
Is it possible that a church worship service might be a security item? Peter Rollins, in his book Insurrection, suggests that worship services could actually be keeping us from worship. Sound impossible?
This past Sunday I started a summer sermon series called Our Growth Process, which will look at how Faith Church understands biblical teaching about how disciples of Jesus can grow to be more like him. Last week I suggested that the foundation to this sermon is to learn to focus on the Kingdom of God. We have for too long focused on church, on church buildings and systems, whereas Jesus taught about his Kingdom. People who want to grow as disciples of Jesus focus their lives on Kingdom of God, and how it enters our lives and world, transforming them. So where do we begin? With worship.
But what if the way we do worship is focused on the church rather than the Kingdom? What if worship is actually keeping us from the transformation that God wants to bring in our lives? Rollins thinks it could be. But why? And is he right? I encourage you to read the book, but I also invite you to join us at Faith Church tomorrow as we are going to look at what Rollins has to say.