In the past few weeks, I have been told by a couple of parishioners that one of their relatives have started to worship on Sunday mornings in a non-denominational church around the corner. The reason that was given for why, was not because of the theological content, but purely on the entertainment value of the service. Since a good part of my website seeks to reach out to non-practicing Catholics and those who have fallen away from the faith, I will put most of my focus towards them, although this pertains to all of Christendom.
Since Jesus was resurrected on the first day of the week, Christians began to worship God on Sunday; “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them…(Acts 20:7).” So, the question we have to ask ourselves is, “What is worship?”
As a Catholic, we gather as a community of believers for Mass, which is the celebration of the Eucharist. “The liturgy of the Eucharist unfolds according to a fundamental structure which has been preserved throughout the centuries down to our own day…, The liturgy of the Word (Holy Scripture) and liturgy of the Eucharist together form, one single act of worship; the Eucharistic table set for us is the table both of the Word of God and of the Body of the Lord (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1346).”
So, is worship primarily for us, or primarily for God? God tells us to “Remember to keep holy the sabbath day (Ex 20:8).” As Christians, you and I are called to the holy worship of our Lord as part of the body of Christ. We are asked to give one hour of our time each week to the one who created us. Worship is primarily about our Lord. We offer ourselves to him in worship and he gives us his guidance through his Word, and himself (bread of life) in the Holy Eucharist. Think about it, we have the opportunity to receive the real body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ each time we come to mass. But, for some, that isn’t enough. We feel the need to be entertained.
Well, you and I live amidst an entertainment culture. Everywhere we go today, we expect to be entertained. Even if you are alone in an elevator there is music playing. We want to be continually on the edge of our seats. We want to be made to laugh, cry, shout, etc. We want to be entertained. We expect it, and if we are not careful, even as committed Christians we can tend to bring that quest for entertainment into a place of worship on Sunday morning. “Here I am God. Entertain me!”
Is that what worship is all about? Is worship all about being entertained? Let’s not fall into the trap of making worship all about ourselves. We live in the era where it is all about me and what I want. If we’re not careful, we might begin to think that worship is really all about me. That’s when we start to look for a church that will fix me. Entertain me. Make me feel good. Pump me up. Recharge my batteries. Make me feel better. And if that doesn’t happen, I’ll just go down the street to the church that does.
“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24).” Now don’t get me wrong, everyone of us desires to be engaged during our time of worship. But let us step back and ask ourselves, what should be the true motivation for our worship. Hopefully we will chose God over ourselves.
Until next time, God bless.