worship as denial?
Last Sunday this was part of my text: In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to me, Flee like a bird to the mountains If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11). I tried to explain that, when things really go wrong ( the foundations are destroyed ), sometimes we are tempted to flee, to employ different forms of denial and escape. I said that the mountains we sometimes escape to are not always conventional alcohol, drugs, psychosis, shopping, etc. I suggested that the mountains could also represent escaping into a book of lofty ideas, or a movie of high-paced action, or sometimes even hyper-religiosity and an other-worldly spirituality. I said that even using worship music can sometimes be used to escape the harsh realities of life. That created a reaction what I said about worship being used as an escape or a form of denial. I know that s been true for me. I know that s been true for others. But to say it so bluntly aroused a response I didn t expect. I emphasized, I thought, that worship in itself isn t wrong. But sometimes we use it wrongly. This is true for anything. Anything at all! But to use worship as an example confused some people. I know some of the problem is that I m often not very clear. But I also think that sometimes we react to harsh truths. It offends our religious sensitivities to suggest that sometimes our worship may be a form of denial. Here s a graphic example: I know a person who visited a very poor church. The congregation was made up of people all living in poverty. The pastor embraced a health/ wealth theology, i.e. that God wants you to be financially rich. He lead the beleaguered congregation in a song that is normally worded, Mercy is falling, is falling, is falling, mercy is falling all over me ; but the words were changed to say, Money is falling, is falling, is falling, money is falling all over me! This really happened. This really happens. I think this is a blatant form of denial, an escape from the harsh realities of their situation.